Home > Corruption, Land, Logging, Papua New Guinea > 172 million reasons why the government won’t cancel illegal SABL leases

172 million reasons why the government won’t cancel illegal SABL leases

December 18, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

There are 172 million reasons every year why the government of Peter O’Neill is steadfastly refusing to implement the recommendations of the SABL Commission of Inquiry and revoke unlawful and illegal SABL leases.

172 million reasons why the government is standing by and watching the fraud and corruption and the accumulating losses for customary landowners.

K172 million* is the value of the logs exported from the illegal SABL areas every 12 months, according to SGS, the agency employed by the government to monitor log export volumes. SGS put the total value of logs exported from PNG in 2012 at K306 million and says 29% came from SABL areas where logging is done under Forest Clearance Authorities (FCAs).

The SGS graph showing the percentage of log exports coming from illegal SABL areas

The SGS graph showing the percentage of log exports coming from illegal SABL areas

This logging in SABL areas has been going on since at least 2010 and is still continuing. At the 2012 rate, the accumulated theft now exceeds K700 million.

Every month the O.Neill government refuses to revoke the leases another K14 million is stolen from customary landowners, filling the pockets of the foreign logging companies and the politicians and public servants who have facilitated the fraud.

K14 million a month – that is what it costs to buy our government, our Ministers, the NEC and our CORRUPT Prime Minister.

This is what the Commission of Inquiry said about the SABLs:

“With corrupt government officials from implementing agencies riding shotgun for them, opportunistic loggers masquerading as agro-forestry developers are prowling our countryside, scoping opportunities to take advantage of gullible landowners and desperate for cash clan leaders.” [p242]

“The Commission of Inquiry found widespread abuse, fraud, lack of coordination between agencies of government, failures and incompetence of government officials to ensure compliance, accountability and transparency within the SABL process from application stage to registration, processing, approval and granting of the SABL”

“Legal requirements were deliberately breached and proper processes and procedures were either by-passed or simply ignored… agencies were reckless, careless and negligent” [Report 1 p235 and 236]

The Commission of Inquiry recommended 38 of 42 SABL leases be REVOKED (their emphasis) but the government has refused to do act. Instead the Prime Minister has asked the very same government agencies the CoI said were corrupt and incompetent to come up with their own set of recommendations.

What a cruel joke on the people of PNG!

* K172,261,823 to be precise (or US$88,775,620)

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