Australian owned company beneficiary of compulsory purchase order
The Department of Lands has used the compulsory purchase powers in the Lands Act to acquire a 12.5 hectare block of customary land outside Port Moresby and grant a 99-year lease to a company called Firewall Logistics – read more here.
According to the Gazette Notice signed by Lands Secretary Romilly Kila Pat, the land was previously held under an SABL lease but has been compulsorily acquired to ‘guarantee security of tenure’. SABL leases have been exposed as a fraudulent and illegal land grab by a Commission of Inquiry.
Firewall Logistics describes itself as:
an experienced and skilled team of project management experts, anthropologists and mining, oil and gas exploration specialists
The company is owned by two Australians, Arthur Llewllyn Jones and Craig Douglas McConaghy. They are also the directors of the company, together with another Australian, Brendan Joseph Cannon,.
Although foreign owned, Firewall Logistics is listed with the Investment promotion Authority as a local PNG company.
Jones and McConaghy are listed as residents of Port Moresby and Goroka respectively, while Cannon lives in a million dollar house in the Brisbane suburb of Sherwood.
Despite acquiring the customary land through a compulsory acquisition process, Firewall insists on its website the company is “Passionate about community inclusion”
“Doing business in PNG requires a high degree of community involvement. Inclusion lies at the very core of our company DNA” which includes “demonstrating respect for the local landowners’ indisputable connection to their land”.
Kila Pat was identified in the SABL Commission of Inquiry as being the facilitator of numerous illegal and unlawful land deals and was recommended to be “held accountable for his unlawful conduct and actions”.
The government has still not taken any action over the unlawful SABL land grab; has not cancelled the illegal leases; has not stopped the illegal logging; and has not held any public servants accountable.