Home > Corruption, Human rights, Land, Logging, oil palm, Papua New Guinea > O’Neill’s illegal logging: 1162 days and c o u n t i n g . . .

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 1162 days and c o u n t i n g . . .

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Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has completely failed to reverse the huge SABL land grab..

So much for all his promises to revoke the unlawful leases, return the land to rural people and stop the illegal logging!

It is now 1,162 days since the reports of the SABL Commission Inquiry which detail the widespread fraud and mismanagement that has allowed foreign logging companies to gain illegal access to over 5 million hectares of land.

Since June 2013, more than three years ago, O’Neill has REPEATEDLY promised us the leases will be canceled and illegal logging stopped.

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” 

In 2015 the Chief Secretary stated:

“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, despite all the promises, no action has been taken to cancel the leases, landowners are receiving no support from the government in their battles against the land grabbing and WE ARE STILL WAITING for the logging to be stopped.

For 1,162 days O’Neill has failed to ensure the SABL leases are revoked and 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.

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

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  1. August 30, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Some good news, 29 August 2016 at 8.09pm

    Landowners in East New Britain Province have won a landmark legal battle to retake their “hijacked” land from the controversial Special Agriculture and Business Lease (SABL).

    The people of Baining in Gazelle district had taken the State and developer to court over the SABL deal which has now been declared null and void by the National Court in Kokopo last Thursday.

    The Sukpramatka Land Group, led by chairman Joel Puipui, had filed an application for judicial review against the State and developer East New Britain Palm Oil Limited last year.

    The proceedings before the court was for a judicial review of the decisions of the State and developer over the process of acquiring the customary lands for SABL, described and known as Baram-Gransait land over Portions 908C and 909C comprising 10,980 hectares and 23,556 hectares in the Inland Baining area.

    The application for judicial review was filed by Puipui representing the Sukpramatka land group, Penias Wagire as acting chairman of Sael Mander ILG, Mr Mathis Sabatka as chairman Malangait ILF of Qaget clan, Chief Jonah Todi of Avir clan and Chief Hosea Kailam of Uramat clan.

    They filed the judicial review in 2012 and leave for the review was granted on March 5, 2013.

    The respondents are Secretary and Minister for Lands and Physical Planning, the State, Kairak ILG, and East New Britain Palm Oil Limited.

    The landowners sought judicial review alleging that the process of acquisition of customary land for Business and Agriculture Leases pursuant to Land Act 1996 were not followed, that there was no diligent and no meaningful consultation with landowners taken by Minister and Secretary for Lands and that the Minister had failed to comply with the statutory preconditions for acquisition of customary land by the State and for granting of lease for special agriculture and business purposes.

    Justice Lenalia Selatial said in his 37-page decision that “the process was hijacked from appropriate landowners” as shown in evidence presented during the proceedings and breached the Land Act and the Constitution.

    He said the Minister can only grant SABLs when he is satisfied that reasonable inquiry has been carried out by officers of his department and the provincial lands office to establish that landowners agree for the land to be compulsorily acquired.

    “I am not satisfied that the three-day meetings held at Malabonga High School community hall on September 1-3, 2010, met the requirements of meaningful consultation.” with landowners.

    “Those decisions cannot stand and having discussed the evidence by all parties and issues involved and the position in law, the court declares that decisions are null and void,” Justice Lenalia ruled.

    Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had promised to cancel all SABLs and abolish the provisions of the Land Act that allow for SABLs to be granted, allowing more than 5.5 million hectares of land being taken over by foreign corporations.

    O’Neill’s decision refers to the investigation by the Commission of Inquiry which determined that the majority of the leases were in flagrant infringement of laws and fraught with abuse and corruption.

    SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS

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