Home > Corruption, Land, Logging, oil palm, Papua New Guinea > Kila-Pat grilled over his role in SABL land grab scandal

Kila-Pat grilled over his role in SABL land grab scandal

Critics say the leases are a back-door way to clear-fell forests and many have been granted without the permission of traditional owners. (Credit: ABC licensed)

The SABL leases are a back-door way to clear-fell forests and many were granted without the permission of traditional owners. (Credit: ABC)

ABC Radio Australia has challenged Department of Lands Secretary Romilly Kila-Pat over his role in the illegal SABL land grab – a role exposed on this blog.

The Commission of Inquiry found Kila Pat was at the centre of widespread corruption and mismanagement in the Department of Lands – the departments tasked with protecting landowners. But, bizarrely not only has he escaped any sanction, he is now the man expected to oversee the revocation of the leases.

Kila-Pat was clearly surprised to be challenged about his role in the SABL scandal:

GARRETT: The commission of inquiry identified tha Lands department as one of the biggest areas where corruption had taken place. What are you doing to ensure that officer involved in corruption do face justice?

KILA-PAT: Actually, i think we need to understand the process of SABL before we conclude there is corruption. The department of Lands and Physical Planning plays a facilitation role. The people who drive SABL are basically the landowners. They themselves come forward to the department and say we want this land to be issued an SABL title and we just facilitate the process of issuing an SABL title based on landowner requests.

GARRETT: Nevertheless, the fact that 25 SABLs are being cancelled and the Commission of Inquiry did find a lot of problems in the Lands department. Will any of your officer be disciplined or stood down from their roles and a result of their role in what has happened?

KILA-PAT: that is very important. I have made my commitments. I have started dealing with officers already. As and when those who are found to be doing something wrong, my position is very clear that we don’t need to have them in the department. We should let them go. But at this stage, we still have outstanding issues to be dealt with by the task force so as soon as they complete everything, we will deal with everything as it unfolds.

GARRETT: The Commission of Inquiry found you, yourself, had issued some Special Agricultural and business leases unlawfully. Should you be in charge of the department as it tries to fix this problem?

KILA-PAT: um, I think what has actually happened now is that I am not going to fix the problems because the task force has been set up so everything will be dealt with by the taskforce. Basically, there are a number of issues that we need to deal with. I think one that is very, very critical in nature is the legislation. OK. The legislation that deals with the issuance of SABLs needs to be changed but, in this case, we are now repealing that particular law that allowed for SABLs. We now have a new law which is under customary land registration where landowners can now come and register their customary land.

GARRETT: Will you be investigated along with other officers named in the commission of Inquiry report?

KILA-PAT: That is a matter of the task force, should the task force make those appropriate recommendations, then like I said, the government has now made recommendations for a task force to be set up to look into this matter.

  1. Hilai Tombele
    June 26, 2014 at 12:18 pm

    Letter Released: 24th June 2014
    By: Political Watch-Dog – (Insider Dept. of Finance, Waigani)


    In every plot there must be some people at the back to make it happened and according to evidences available Task Force Sweep chairman Sam Koim have heavily compromised his job by having couple of highly classified discussions with those high profile people under investigation.

    This plot was not only about Prime Minister’s allegations regarding Paul Pareka Lawyers K71.8 million payment of outstanding legal bills but it’s about hiding the corrupt behaviors of those perpetrators who have come under investigation for squandering billions of kina for the people of PNG.

    The plot was cleverly done to stop the government from investigating further into “higher profile ring of crooks” who have milked from the Finance Department for last 10- 15 years.
    There are so many things happened in finance department ever since independence and Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc who was appointed to clean the mass in the department describe the status as very ‘filthy and shocking’.

    If the Finance department is described as very filthy for the last 10 -20 years, then it takes a genuine government to destroy the ‘ring of corruption’.

    My concern is how effective will be the government to destroy the ‘ring of corruption’ done by high profile people who have grown roots in top bureaucratic systems of the country.
    I guess there will be bloodshed. Those people will never give in easily. They will come up with alternative ideas to topple any government want to investigate them.

    It is very clear that Prime Minister have no knowledge about the letter. Again and again he said “ I am Innocent, I have been mandated by the people to fight corruption and make developments”, said O’Neil.

    It was the Prime Minister who initiated the investigation into Paul Pareka Lawyers laws bills and other high profile cases.
    My question is, how can he(PM) fund his own allegations. It is very unrealistic and hard to digest the information coming out from the media that O’Neill signed the paper.

    Also letter assumed to be written by PM have no clear record in the registry, font size of the letter a different, and content starting with “Dear Sir”.

    This letter sent to Don Polye who was the Treasury Minister that time with the word “Dear Sir” and I’m wandering how can a Prime Minister addressed his minister under him in such a manner.

    Also when you look at the constitutional protocols of the PM , the PM doesn’t have any legal right or obligations to pay outstanding bills, sign any invoices, write any letter to advice the ministers to pay certain people and other financial obligations.

    Each department have their heads with the minister responsible to control and management of financial affairs in line with the budget given. The Prime Minister’s obligation is to see everyone work towards the budget to develop government policies.

    However the situation gets out of hand at the different dimension and all of us quickly turned a blind eye on O’Neill. I guess so the ‘big boys in the ring’ loved away but they must realized that their mission was not accomplished.

    Mr Koim who is also under allegation of owning million dollar of assets in PNG and overseas in short period of time master- minded the move in collaboration with the high profile people to come up with forensic letter..

    Why Mr Koim first place said that this letter was forged and now come up with a different story. Why bring PNG matters to Australian soil by trespassing the PNG Laws?
    Mr Koim should have arranged for forensic evidence for longtime and now what have gone through him. Gentleman (Koim) like you preached in the church, “truth will make its own way and all the dark sides will be revealed.”
    This same matter was initiated by Opposition leader Bleden Nema sometime ago but it failed. Now Mr Koim with his allies including the opposition to come up with the forensic oriented letter.
    No one knows about the Australian company and its history. Media information justify that it is a forensic company in Australia. This is a joke.

    This is absolutely a lie and I thank the Prime Minister for trying to destroy the “ring of crooks” who have been milking on People’s money ever since independence.

    If our God have appointed this man (PM) to lead the nation of PNG, no evil will prosper. Time will tell whether he is wrong or right when our higher court justify the matters upon O’Neill’s shoulder.
    As far as my conscience is very clear, what happened over last time in Port Moresby was merely politically engineered move by interested parties including Task Force Sweep, Opposition, Paul Pareka Lawyers, Finance Department heads, police heads, police investigative department, auditor general and other high profile people who are under investigation.

    If God have a favour for this nation, they will not run away from truth but will face the justice. They will not prosper with their hidden agendas and moves because this nation belongs to God.
    I believe this is the last fight of the evil who ruled and rained over this nation for last 40 years and they will not prosper but they’ll become burned by the power of God’s presence.

    We are heading towards 40 years of celebration next year (2015) and that’s the time we will see land of Canaan (Promise land) with abundance of blessings and righteous leaders will be in power.
    Finally to everyone out there just pause for a moment and see how God will put in order the government that it wanted because our nation is prophetic nation on the face of the earth.

    The truth will prevail shortly.

    By Political Watch Dog
    Insider- Department of Finance ,PNG

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