Home > Corruption, Human rights, Land, Logging, oil palm, Papua New Guinea > O’Neill’s illegal logging: 987 days and counting…

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 987 days and counting…


There is still no sign of any action to undo the huge SABL land grab, revoke the unlawful leases or stop the illegal logging.

It is 987 days, since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was told that the SABL leases were unlawful and should be cancelled.

On June 24, 2013 O’Neill was given the reports of the SABL Commission Inquiry which detail the widespread fraud and mismanagement used by foreign logging companies to gain illegal access to over 5 million hectares of land.

For more than two-and-a-half years O’Neill has REPEATEDLY told us the leases will be canceled and illegal logging stopped.

px-logo land grabbing

In September 2013 O’Neill said in Parliament:

“We will no longer watch on as foreign owned companies come in and con our landowners, chop down our forests and then take the proceeds offshore”

In June 2014, announcing an NEC decision supposedly cancelling the leases, O’Neill said

“We are taking these steps to reclaim our customary land illegally lost to foreigners with the help of corrupt public servants and leaders”

“As a responsible government we want to ensure that all citizens have access to the lands of their ancestors. We will not allow our land to be lost to unscrupulous people out to con our people” 

The ex Chief Secretary also admitted the leases are a scam:

“It is widely known that vast amounts of pristine forest have been logged to enrich a corrupt few people, while landowners have unknowingly lost their most valuable asset – their land”.

But, still no action has been taken to cancel the leases or stop the logging. Indeed, Forest Minister Douglas Tomuriesa, has declared the logging companies are effectively above the law, He says the SABL logging is legal and he will not be taking action to stop it.

So, despite all the promises, the fact is landowners are receiving no support from the government in their battles and against the land grabbing and WE ARE STILL WAITING for the leases to be cancelled and the logging stopped.

For 987 days O’Neill has failed to ensure the SABL leases are revoked and he has been complicit in the illegal logging of our forests by foreign logging companies.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has aided and abetted the theft of logs worth hundreds of million of kina and the destruction of thousands of hectares of pristine forest.


  1. March 8, 2016 at 9:10 am

    The 25 page report “The Great Timber Heist: The Logging Industry in Papua New Guinea” was recently released by the Oakland Institute (USA).
    The Conclusion to the report states:
    “Customary landowners in PNG are largely dependent on
    their land for their livelihoods. Their collective ownership
    of land and natural resources is supposed to be protected
    by the Constitution and other national laws. Instead, they
    face arrests and law suits, whereas logging companies enjoy
    apparent impunity.
    This report uncovers financial practices of the logging
    industry in PNG that raise important questions about the
    extent of tax evasion and financial misreporting in the
    sector. The report’s findings call for relevant authorities
    such as PNG’s Internal Revenue Commission, the agency
    in charge of collecting taxes and enforcing tax regulations,
    to take action urgently to defend the interests and rights
    of PNG citizens. Effective legal action to protect customary
    land rights, stop the appropriation of resources, and
    prevent human rights violations of the citizens is lacking.
    The question is, will the government of PNG take action to
    stop illegal activities, tax evasion, and other wrongdoings of
    the logging industry?”
    See the full report here

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