Archive

Archive for January, 2017

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 1316 days and counting…

January 30, 2017 3 comments

count

It is now less than six month until the election, the public service is back at work, but there is still NO ACTION to reverse the huge SABL land grab. NO ACTION to return the land to customary landholders and NO ACTION to stop the illegal logging in SABL areas.

It is now 1,316 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 50 thousand square kilometres of land.

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

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

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”.

And just three months ago, on November 4, O’Neill told Parliament and the Nation:

“I am pleased to say that all the SABL leases to be cancelled, instruction has now gone to the Lands Dept and as of today I can assure you that leases are now being cancelled and where there are projects now existing, we’ve encouraged the landowners to renegotiate many of those leases arrangements that they have made with the developers.

“These leases were given without much thought in the past. As a result, a lot of the landowners stood to lose all their years of generations of ownership over the land that they have had for many years.

“We do not want the rightful landowners lose their rights to land.

“That is why we have instructed the department of Lands and Forestry to cancel all the SABL.”

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 1,316 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.

sabl cartoon

Advertisements

These are the victims of corruption in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville

January 30, 2017 Leave a comment

landslide

We have previously drawn attention to grand levels of corruption within the Autonomous Bougainville Government, which has decimated capacity and public funds. We are saddened to hear a major landslide in the south of Bougainville has taken many lives, following a huge earthquake (it appears no media accounts have yet appeared of the fatalities!). An eyewitness report suggests for seven days families have been digging for loved ones, without any state assistance. Meanwhile millions in Kina is stolen by government Ministers, or awarded to companies owned by business partners and family members. Those digging through mud, struggling to find their loved ones, are the victims of corruption, and the mismanagement it breeds. An eyewitness account paints a sombre portrait.  

Source: Cecilia Pepson‎, Bougainville Women’s Federation

Five days have gone by, and they have not found their loved ones. Day in and day out, they continue to dig through the rubble. They have changed the course of the Porou river three times, getting the fast flowing river to wash away dirt so they can hope to find them. 

By day five (5), they can smell the decomposing bodies, but still evasive. They dig around the huge rock that got dislocated from the left side of this canyon like gorge. The rock that their loved ones must be entombed beneath. 

They are cold, they are hungry, their hands are sore from digging with them bare (no gloves). Their backs ache, they catch cough because their immunity is down as they dig tirelessly through rain or shine, night or day. They dare not stop, cos they can smell them close by somewhere near. The sooner they find them the better. So they can put them to rest and then and only then, will they rest. 

They are a forgotten people. Government services do not trickle down this far. Yesterday there was a feeble attempt from Buin District office to assist… 6 bags of 20kg rice. Sadly, this is just a drop in the bucket.

It will help if someone from the “natural disaster office” in Buka can make a site visit and see for themselves that the searchers need to eat as they work around the clock. Everyone from surrounding villages are running out of resources, because they are all relatives and are ALL in mourning and further, live in the same treacherous landscape. These are people who live such hard lives, while their elected leaders forget them for 5 years after getting elected into office. 

These people do not have access to water in their homes. Their children went to have their daily wash and to fetch water for consumption in their homes. This is how life is lived in this part of the world. Children going to wash together, 2 kilometers down in the gorge, adds fun to the hard task of children helping parents carry home much needed basic water. Unfortunately on this particular Sunday, disaster struck.

Bougainville Women’s Federation issues a response:

‘The Disaster office in Buka has been handicap for so long, and I call on the ABG and our National Parliamentarians to prioritise emergencies like what we have now in Leonoke as we will continue to go through experiencing a lot more disasters in Bougainville’.

Defence Minister illegally acquired Boroko home

January 26, 2017 6 comments
Defence Minister Fabian Pok illegally acquired a house in Boroko from the National Housing Corporation

Defence Minister Fabian Pok illegally acquired a house in Boroko from the National Housing Corporation

The National Court has ordered Defence Minister Fabian Pok give up the title to a home he illegally acquired from the National Housing Corporation (see newspaper report below).

Justice Canning’s has described the decision to allow Pok to buy the house – at a value less than that quoted to the home’s occupier – as  “favors being done to big men.”

Not only was Pok not entitled in law to acquire the house, he purchased it without it being advertised and with no competitive bidding process.

MP’s title forfeited over fraud charges

Source: Post Courier

THE title to a property in Boroko, National Capital District was forfeited from Defence Minister Dr Fabian Pok after the National Court declared its acquisition a “case of constructive fraud.”

The ruling was handed down by Justice David Cannings last Friday who also ordered the National Housing Corporation to sell it at a lesser price to Vaki Vailala who had been occupying it for 23 years.

He said Mr Pok was not an eligible buyer according to the three requirements set out in Division IV, 4, Section 37 of the National Housing Corporation Act.

In 1994, Vaki Vailala moved into Section 6, Lot 45, Kanu Place, Boroko when he was a surveyor with the Department of Lands and Physical Planning.

In 2005, he found employment within the private sector and began paying rent to NHC.

During his occupancy, MrVilala made three offers to purchase the property but received no response from NHC.

In May 2013, Mr Pok wrote under the letter head “Office of the Minister for Defence,” expressing his interest in “any property that is available for sale.”

Five months later, the NHC managing director, John Dege offered to sell to Mr Vailala for K529, 599.60 with conditions that he accept within 14 days and make a 10 per cent deposit.

Mr Vailala asked for an extension of time to arrange finance.

14 days later, Mr Dege cancelled the offer due to Mr Vailala’s failure to comply with conditions and sold the property to Mr Pok at a price K 4065. 60 less than the one he had offered Mr Vailala.

Mr Vailala was given seven days to vacate so initiated the legal proceedings and an interim stay was issued.

Justice Cannings found the circumstance of the sale suspicious as it seemed like “favors being done to big men.”

“There were no evidence that any other person was offered this property, the sale of the property was not advertised and there was no competitive bidding,” he said.

The court found the NHC offer to Mr Vailala unreasonable as it came with little notice five years after his last offer to sell and an extension of deadline was never given that Mr Vailala had been living on the land for over 20 years.

Justice Cannings advised Mr Pok to seek refund from NHC as he was prejudiced; he had invested more than half a million in the property and has not been able to occupy it for one day since he bought it almost three years ago.

Petroleum Minister defends illegal land deals

January 24, 2017 1 comment
new-look-for-madang

Image shows the facilities Minister Duban claims will be built on land illegally acquired by his family business

Petroleum Minister and Madang MP, Nixon Duban, has gone to the media to defend two illegal land deals in which a company owned by his family and associates has acquired prime green spaces in Madang town.

Duban, see story below, says the deals have been approved by the Provincial Assembly and will see the construction of two 15-story hotels and a seven-story shopping mall.

But Duban has not answered any of the questions over the issuing of the leases or, indeed, denied, they are illegal.

The Minister should explain:

  • who is the Korean company he says will build the facilities?
  • why were the leases issued to a company owned by his relatives and associates?
  • why did the Minister not reveal this conflict of interest when lobbying for the Lands Minister to issues the leases?
  • how could the leases be issued under S.72(d) of the Lands Act when the land does not contain any State buildings and therefore the Section cannot apply?
  • why was the land rezoned by the National Physical Planning Board in Port Moresby without the knowledge and consent of the Madang Provincial Physical Planning Board.
  • what is the name of the company he claims local organisations will own a stake in and how will they benefit from that ownership given the development is very unlikely to show a profit in the foreseeable future?
  • what role does the Chinese company Loyaluck Investments, whose name is disclosed in paperwork as linked to the deal, have in the affair?

See further: 

Madang to lose iconic green spaces in APEC land grab

Key government Minister to benefit from bulldozing of Madang parks

PNG Minister and Chinese Woman exposed in illegal land grab

Further allegations regarding Minister Duban’s dodgy land deals

New look for Madang

DOROTHY MARK in The National (aka The Loggers Times)
MADANG will see the development of two 15-storey hotels and a seven-storey shopping mall under a new K500 million business investment plan.
The plan has been endorsed by the provincial assembly.
MP Nixon Duban told the assembly that the plan received much criticism in the social media because many people were not aware of the economic benefits of the investment.
He said the shopping mall would be constructed at a cost of K300 million by a Korean company. Duban said Madang people would own 30 per cent of the shares in the investment.
“The building itself will have restaurants, banking facilities, private clinics, office spaces, recreational park, children play ground and shops,” he said.
Duban said Transgogol, Ambenob and MULLG would have 5 per cent shares each, the business arm of the Bel people in Madang called the Yamauan LOA would own 5 per cent, Madang district, would own 5 per cent and 120 community-based organisations, which benefitted under the district’s K1 million credit scheme, would also receive 5 per cent of the shares.
He said 70 per cent of the shares was for the investor.
Duban said the investment was a result of the Madang’s investment summit last year.
He said two hotels would be erected at a cost of K200 million with big economic benefit for the district. The projects would take two years to complete. “Those people posting the negative image of the investment on social media represent their own self-interest. It is a political gimmick and should not be entertained,” Duban said.
He said the shopping mall and hotels development would place Madang in a better position to gain city status.
Duban received the full support of the assembly to go ahead with the investment on behalf of the Madang Urban, Ambenob and Transgogol local level governments.

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 1309 days and counting…

January 23, 2017 Leave a comment

count

sabl cartoon

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 1302 days and counting…

January 16, 2017 1 comment

count

We are now two weeks into the New Year, the public service is back at work, but we are still waiting to see ANY ACTION to reverse the huge SABL land grab. We are still waiting to see ANY ACTION to return the land to customary landholders and still waiting to see ANY ACTION to stop the illegal logging in SABL areas.

It is now 1,302 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 50 thousand square kilometres of land.

Since June 2013, more than three-and-a-half 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”.

And just two months ago, on November 4, O’Neill told Parliament and the Nation:

“I am pleased to say that all the SABL leases to be cancelled, instruction has now gone to the Lands Dept and as of today I can assure you that leases are now being cancelled and where there are projects now existing, we’ve encouraged the landowners to renegotiate many of those leases arrangements that they have made with the developers.

“These leases were given without much thought in the past. As a result, a lot of the landowners stood to lose all their years of generations of ownership over the land that they have had for many years.

“We do not want the rightful landowners lose their rights to land.

“That is why we have instructed the department of Lands and Forestry to cancel all the SABL.”

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 1,302 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

Minister Tkatchenko’s fingerprints all over PNG rugby

January 11, 2017 3 comments

Justin-Tkatchenko

Media reports say controversial Sports Minister, Justin Tkatchenko has been issued a “stern warning“ by World Rugby to refrain from interfering with Rugby matters in the country [see story below].

World Rugby is the international governing body for Rugby Union and has a zero-tolerance policy on political interference. It views the issue so seriously it could suspend PNG teams from participating in regional and international tournaments.

But Rugby Union is not the only rugby code where Minister Tkatchenko is heavily involved.

Justin Tkatchenko is the sole shareholder of PNG Rugby League Foundation Limited, where he is also a director.

PNG Rugby League Foundation is, in turn, the sole shareholder in PNG NRL Bid Limited, where Tkatchenko is also, again, a director.

So Tkatchenko owns both PNG Rugby League Foundation Limited and PNG NRL Bid Limited and sits on the board of both companies.

But his involvement doesn’t end there. Justin Tkatchenko is also a director for Team Kumuls Limited, owned by Sandis Tsaka.

How is that for political interference!

Minister Tkatchenko has recently applied for planning permission to build a lavish multi-million dollar estate in the exclusive Brisbane, Australia, suburb of Brookfield.

World Rugby Warns PNG Sports Minister Justin Tkatechenko

Source: NBC News/ PNG Today

Papua New Guinea Sports Minister Justin Tkatchenko has been issued a stern warning by World Rugby to refrain from interfering with Rugby matters in the country, NBC reports.

The warning comes after Tkatchenko verbally announced the election of Steven Kami as the interim president-elect for PNG Rugby Football Union during the official launching of the Jonah Lomah Legacy Cup late last year.

In a letter dated December 2016, World Rugby to asked Minister Tkatchenko not to show further involvement in governance matters of the PNG Rugby Football Union.

This warning also comes at a time when the PNGRFU remains in a dispute over its constitution and who to hold the head of the office in the country.

Under its bylaws, World Rugby has a zero-tolerance on political interference, with the consequence of suspending the countries representative teams from participating in regional and international tournaments.

The letter goes on to say further involvement by the Minister may jeopardise rugby’s national teams participation in regional and international tournaments.

World Rugby is sending an observer from Oceania Rugby to attend a selected PNGRFU Annual General Meeting, to ensure all agendas are ironed out before a new president is elected.

Minister Tkatchenko’s office confirmed with NBC News, they had received the letter and details of his response will be made public when World Rugby confirms receipt of the Minister’s response.