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Posts Tagged ‘Papua New Guinea’

New satellite images and analysis reveal extent of SABL scam

October 27, 2015 3 comments

We all know the SABL leases are a scam. Even the Prime Minister and his Chief Secretary have had to publicly admit that

So why has nothing been done to cancel the leases and return the land to its customary owners?

Money and corruption – that is the simple reason

The logging companies are making millions from their illegal logging operations and the politicians are being paid to ensure the forest clearances are not interrupted.

Look at this graph produced by Global Witness showing the level of log exports from SABL areas: sabl log exports

One third of PNG log exports now come from SABL areas, earning the logging companies US$ 120 million a year.

And look at the increases – the amount of logging INCRESED DRAMATICALLY once the Commission of Inquiry started and INCREASED AGAIN once the Commission reports were given to the PM.

In the 28 months since the government received those reports in June 2013 nothing has been done to stop the logging –  indeed the National Forest Board has continued to issue and renew the logging licences!

And what about the logging operations themselves? Aren’t the logging companies just clearing forest to plant oil palm?

BULLSHIT!

Just look at this stalitte image showing the logging in one SABL area in East Sepik!

turubu logging

Over 55,000 hectares of forest has been cleared while only 100 hectares (less than 2%) is being used for oil palm. And one-third of the logging is actually OUTSIDE the SABL boundary!!!

All this logging is clearly illegal yet the government and the National Forest Board are letting it happen… and WE ALL KNOW WHY!

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 854 days and counting…

October 26, 2015 Leave a comment

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Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

sabl cartoon

O’Neill’s ilegal logging: 847 days and counting…

October 19, 2015 1 comment

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There has still been NO ACTION to cancel the huge SABL land grab, revoke the unlawful leases or stop the illegal logging in Papua New Guinea.

The Chief Secretary has recently made several rather pitiful attempts to explain the delays, but his pathetic and inept excuses have only further highlighted how desperate and ridiculous the government’s position is.

It is now 847 days, since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was told that the SABL leases were unlawful and should be cancelled.

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

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.

O’Neill has REPEATEDLY STATED the leases will be canceled and illegal logging stopped.

In September 2013 O’Neill told 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 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” 

Even the Chief Secretary has admitted:

“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 a new Task Force to look at the Commission of Inquiry recommendations and promises of legislation to cancel some of the leases, 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 847 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.

Chief Sec looking increasingly desperate and ridiculous over SABL land grab

October 14, 2015 11 comments

Manasupe Zurenuoc

The government’s Chief Secretary, Manasupe Zurenuoc, has started issuing contradictory statements as he becomes increasingly desperate in his attempts to justify the inaction over the SABL land grab.

Monday the Chief Secretary said NGOs were unreasonable in their demands and the government hadn’t been able to act for 28 months because new legislation is necessary to cancel the unlawful leases.

But yesterday [see story below] he said the only option available to the state is to take the matter to court.

Which is it Zurenuoc, legislation or court action that is needed to cancel the leases?

And more to the point, why has the government done neither?

The truth is that after 28 months sitting on the Commission of Inquiry findings the government has failed to challenge a single unlawful SABL through the courts and it has not made any attempt to change the law..

At least the Chief Sec has got one thing right:

“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”.

What the Chief Sec forgot to add was that it is the government, through the PNG Forest Authority that has been annually renewing the Forest Clearance Authorities allowing the logging to continue.

If you really want to stop the logging, simply stop issuing the FCAs!

Govt frustrated at efforts to stop abuse of SABLs
Source: The National(owned by serial illegal logger and SABL land grabber Rimbunan Hijau)
THE Government says it has been frustrated in its efforts to stop the abuse of special agriculture and business leases by court challenges.
Chief Secretary Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc said in a statement: “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.
“It is disappointing to see that some parties have continued to support SABLs and they have continued to log and destroy our forest.
“The Government has taken all available steps yet it is met by costly and time-consuming legal challenges and misinformation. The current legal system does not provide a speedy and economic way to cancel SABLs. The only way to cancel a SABL is if the leaseholder voluntarily surrenders the lease.
“Obviously leaseholders have refused to do this, meaning the only option available to the state is to take the matter to court.
“As we all know, court battles are long and costly. Leaseholders have vast amounts of money at their disposal and while the matter is dragging out, they log the land for their own profit.
“Some leaseholders have even taken the extreme action of trying to prevent the implementation of the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry.
“A court order has been obtained by leaseholders that purport to quash the findings of the Commission.
“This is very unfortunate. The commission found that in one of the cases examined in East Sepik, all landowners were not consulted or fully informed.”

More hopeless excuses from the government on SABL

October 13, 2015 4 comments

The Chief Secretary is back in the media [see below] offering more pathetic excuses for the government’s failure to cancel the unlawful SABL leases. Lets look line by line at what he has to say:

Manasupe: “And to be honest with them [vocal NGOs], I will ask them in so that I can explain to them”

So Manasupe, when and where is this meeting taking place? Date and venue please, enough of your vague and empty promises!

Manasupe: “It’s almost impossible for us to work on these in record time.”

Record time – it is now 28 months since the Commission of Inquiry reported! Why has nothing been done for all that time?

The only record this government is setting is a record for repeatedly lying and saying it will cancel the leases! 

Manasupe: “What I see is that for us to succeed in revoking these SABLs, we must have a change in law”.

This is just another excuse. The courts have already declared five SABLs null and void. Why hasn’t the government asked the courts to cancel all the leases?

Why has it taken 26 months to decide you need to change the law?

Why hasn’t the govt supported landowners like those from Pomio and Turubu who, against all the odds and with minimal resources, are taking legal action against individual SABLs?

The simple truth is the government does not want to cancel the SABLs!

Manasupe: “We’re also worried about compensating those who will lose these SABLs”

But Manasupe, why are you not worried about compensating the landowners who have lost their land and forests? Surely you have a duty to protect and compensate your own people?

And why would you pay compensation to foreign companies who have made millions of dollars in profits from their logging operations in SABL areas? 

Manasupe: “We can’t just evict them”

Why not just evict them? That is what the companies have done to the customary landowners – they just evicted them! It is what the government does all the time to people living in settlements. Why can’t companies who have acquired unlawful leases and set up illegal logging operations just be evicted?

Oh, sorry, we forgot. The companies pay millions in bribes to politicians and officials… now we understand! Why didn’t you just say that Manasupe! 

Probe on SABL to take time
Source: The National (owned by Rimbunan Hijau, the SABL puppeteer – how ironic is that!)
CHIEF Secretary Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc says it will take more time to investigate the controversial Special Agriculture Business Leases.
Sir Manasupe reiterated yesterday that the SABLs needed to be worked on.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and the Government have been on the firing line, especially from non-government organisations and environmentalists, over the SABLs.
O’Neill had labelled SABLs as a “scam” and promised that they would be outlawed.
Sir Manasupe said NGOs had been vocal about the SABL issues.
“And to be honest with them, I will ask them in so that I can explain to them,” he said.
“It’s almost impossible for us to work on these in record time.
“What I see is that for us to succeed in revoking these SABLs, we must have a change in law.
“We’re also worried about compensating those who will lose these SABLs as we can’t just evict them.”
Last Saturday, he applauded the SABL Implementation Taskforce for the outstanding report to implement the recommendations found during the Commission of Inquiry into SABLs.
The special taskforce comprised Dr Laurence Sause (chairman and Government adviser) and two retired public servants – KuttPaonga (legal adviser) and Daniel Katakumb (land adviser).
Sir Manasupe said in 2011, the Government set up a Commission of Inquiry into SABLs, which found that many leases needed to be revoked.
Out of the 75 SABLs throughout the country, only 42 SABL reports were provided by only two members of the commission – Nicholas Mirou and John Numapo – who recommended that 30 be cancelled, 11 suspended and that only one SABL was in order.

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 840 days and counting…

October 12, 2015 1 comment

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RH boycott sticker

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

px-logo land grabbing

 

 

 

PATHETIC: Govt response on SABL offers nothing

October 9, 2015 2 comments
Manasupe Zurenuoc

The Chief Secretary is fumbling to explain why the government has done nothing for 28 months…

What a difference five days can make!

On Sunday the Chief Secretary was proudly trumpeting the government’s response to the SABL land grab. Now, after a few well aimed blows from Governor Gary Juffa and NGO ACT NOW!, who have pointed out the government has taken over two years to arrive at a  point where it is still only promising some action to cancel some leases at some unspecified time in the future, the Chief Secretary is fumbling for answers (see story below).

The government will ‘do its best’ he says, but “its not easy” – after all, the government has only been working on it for 28 months!!!

Some of the blows delivered to the government:

Ol papa graun imas rausim SABL – Radio Australia

NGO wary about govt promises on SABLs – Radio New Zealand

Lobby doubts government promises of action – Post Courier

Land Secretary must cancel SABL leases – PNG Loop

SABL implementation soon – Govt chief
Author: Joy Kisselpar, PNG Loop
Government Chief Secretary Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc says the government will do its best to implement recommendations of the Special Inquiry into Special Agriculture Leases.
He is aware of the criticisms by Non-Governmental Organisations and other leaders however he says it is not an easy task to carry out.
He says laws will need to be changed and legal implications of each case must be thoroughly examined before action is taken.
Over the weekend Zurenuoc announced that he has received a report from the special task force appointed by the government to study the recommendations of the SABL inquiry and provide a way forward for the government.
He says the report has cleared the way for the government to implement the recommendations.
Implementation will be effective as soon as amendments are made to laws governing Special Agriculture Business Leases.

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