Home > Corruption, Human rights, Land, Papua New Guinea > The Paga Hill demolition: Serious questions remain unanswered

The Paga Hill demolition: Serious questions remain unanswered

International State Crime Initiative

SCIA British based human rights research centre, the International State Crime Initiative, has raised concerns over the contradictory state-corporate response to the recent demolition exercise at Paga Hill.

The exercise left hundreds homeless, in addition to destroying WWII relics and a Seven-day Adventist Church.

It took place amidst multiple disputes over land at Paga Hill, an area which is currently earmarked for a ring road, in addition to a luxury real-estate project spearheaded by the Paga Hill Development Company.

ISCI researcher, Dr Kristian Lasslett, notes ‘this egregious demolition exercise appears to be something of an orphan. Governor Parkop has eschewed responsibility for the destruction, while the Paga Hill ring road contractor, Curtain Brothers, also denies involvement. So who then is responsible for vandalising priceless historical artefacts and destroying family homes?’

22 July Eviction

ISCI notes matters get even more confusing when attention is drawn to the legal status of the land on which the demolition took place.

‘For years the community at Paga Hill has contested an eviction order obtained by the Paga Hill Development Company. Those families living in lower Paga argue that their homes lie on reclaimed land outside the developer’s state lease. On the first of July this year, the Supreme Court made an order supporting the community’s argument’.

However, according to Dr Lasslett, ‘back in 2013 it appears that this reclaimed land was somehow surveyed and registered as Portion 3149 in Survey Plan Cat No.49/3107. Then in January this year the Land Board recommended that a Special Purpose Lease over the disputed land be awarded to Andayap No.5 Limited, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Paga Hill Development Company. This arrangement was formalised in a gazettal notice dated the 4th of June 2014’.

ISCI questions why the Supreme Court was not alerted to this arrangement given its direct relevance to the community’s appeal.

‘Even when responding to the 1st of July Supreme Court decision, PHDC failed to mention that it had acquired title over the reclaimed land’, Dr Lasslett observes.

‘Instead, we were lead to believe that only the NCDC and Curtain Brothers had a tangible interest. The community at Paga Hill are devastated. They can’t understand how land the subject of a Supreme Court hearing, could be leased out by the government to the respondent in the case, without the appellant being alerted’.

Dr Lasslett adds, ‘we note that the Paga Hill Development Company has condemned both the NCDC and Curtain Brothers for organising the demolition exercise. Yet the company has not explained how this demolition could occur on land it owns, without PHDC’s knowledge, nor have they denied organising an identical style demolition on the exact same portion of land – which at that stage they did not own – in May 2012. Their chutzpah is extraordinary’.

According to the NCDC some of those left homeless by the most recent exercise have been relocated to a small plot of state land at Gerehu Stage 6. One relocated resident informed ISCI, ‘its not OK, no toilets, no power, no water, no houses and it’s not safe’.

Dr Lasslett notes, ‘some families have been abruptly shunted off to land at 6-Mile and Gerehu by PHDC and the NCDC respectively, with promises of security. Yet it appears they have no enforceable tenure rights to either plot of land, and now live in a terminal state of uncertainty, without anything resembling adequate housing’.

Appendices – Documents Relating to Supreme Court action and land Portion 3149

1 Supreme Court Order 1 July 20141 pg1

2 Supreme Court Order 1 July 2014 pg2

3 Survey Plan Portion 3149

4 Gazettal_Notice_Portion_31491

5 Gazettal_Notice_Portion_31492

6 Gazettal_Notice_Portion_31493

7 Gazettal_Notice_Portion_31494

8 Entity_Extract-ANDAYAP_NO._5_LTD-1-885961

9 Entity_Extract-ANDAYAP_NO._5_LTD-1-885962

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  1. Second Opnion
    July 31, 2014 at 5:03 pm

    From general observation, Curtain Bros did not destroy the Historic war structures and SDA church, it was by another contractor and police . Curtain Brothers has been doing friendly approach by relocating people within the road corridor who have volunteered to move out. NCDC gave a land in Gerehu for the purpose of relocation and Curtain Brothers has been developing this land for occupation Unlike the Paga Hill Development Company ( and Gumi Fredicsons’s) relocation deal at 6 mile. Gerehu deal is a well designed and engineered allotments with proper survey pegs and people will get land titles, which is far more better deal than Gumi Fredicson’s deal at 6mile.

  2. Kristian Lasslett
    August 4, 2014 at 5:46 am

    An update from Rtd Judge Mark Sevua 2/8/2014:

    “Yesterday, Friday afternoon, i requested the Registrar of the Supreme Court to cite PHDC principal, Fridrikkson and Liria of contempt of Supreme Court, together with Land Board Chairman and Lands Dept Secretary for their part in dealing with the Reclaimed Land while SC 18 of 2014 was still before the Sup Crt but they had all colluded and awarded the Reclaimed Land to ANDAYAP NO 5 LTD, a company owned by PHDC with Liria as Director and Fridikkson as Secretary. No advertisement of the land was done in contravention of Section 69 Land Act which mandatorily requires all state lease to be advertised therefore the process was illegal. The Reclaimed Land is now part of new Portion 3149 granted to Andayap No 5 Ltd on 4 June 2014 about 3 weeks before the Supreme Court gave its judgment on SCA 18 on 1 July 2014. It is obvious that PHDC failed to disclose its dealings of the Reclaimed Land to the Sup Court. Why????? Is this country being sold by its own people??? Why are the authorities allowing these dishonest and corrupt people to destroy the lives of our ordinary citizens like the residents of the Reclaimed Land at Paga Point with impunity?????”

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