Police complaint against Ministers over Madang land deals
Source: Radio New Zealand
A lawyer in the Papua New Guinea city of Madang has laid a criminal complaint over alleged breaches of process by government ministers in a land deal.
Minister of Lands Benny Allan and Minister of Petroleum & Energy Nixon Duban have been accused of conspiring to attempt to unlawfully acquire two slabs of prime public land in Madang.
Bryan Kramer, who laid a complaint with Madang police, said the ministers circumvented a number of required processes in the land deal.
He claimed the awarding of the title by the Lands Minister was illegal, and that a National Physical Planning board failked to consult the provincial planning board when it rezoned the land.
“So then they had rezoned both pieces of land for commercial use, and then the Minister issued a directive, exercising his powers to grant the land directly to a company that is directly associated with Nixon Duban. When I looked at the instruments, I established that the minister had no such powers to make that decision, and he even invoked the wrong provisions of the law.”
He said he doesn’t expect the police to look far into this case, based on previous lack of action over a bribery case in the court of disputed election returns which found Mr Duban guilty.
Last month, PNG’s prime minister Peter O’Neill announced that two other cabinet ministers were standing aside pending a probe into their involvement in another allegedly fraudulent land deal.
The Minister for Defence Fabian Pok and Minister for State Enterprises William Duma are alleged to have committed the fraud in relation to a land deal for a purported PNG naval base relocation.
It has emerged that the state-owned asset holding company Kumul Consolidated Holdings paid a company closely linked with Mr Duma US$14million to purchase land at Manumanu in Central Province.
Mr O’Neill ordered the Police Commissioner to look into the allegation, and has signalled that there will be a Commission of Inquiry to examine the allegations around the land deal.
Both ministers in the allegedly-criminal land deal in Madang are members of Mr O’Neill’s People’s National Congress party.