Prime Minister Peter O’Neill still refuses to do anything to reverse the huge SABL land grab or stop the illegal logging.
So much for all his promises to revoke the unlawful leases and return the land to customary landholders!
It is now 1,204 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 1,204 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.
The Supreme Court has rejected a bid by notorious Malaysian logging company, Rimbunan Hijau, to have a claim against it for orchestrating a brutal police assault thrown out.
Tha plaintiff, John Molu says he was thrown out of a 3 metre high window, threatened at gun point, gun-butted, lashed with wooden sticks and a bulldozer fan belt, punched and kicked and cut with a bush knife. These assaults were allegedly carried out by Sergeant Jerry Biamaga and Constable Frank Johe who were working on behalf of Rimbunan Hijau subsidiary, Wawoi Guavi Timber Company.
The details of the serious assault and human rights violations inflicted by the police officers are all ‘facts’ the Supreme Court says, Rimbunan Hijau’s lawyers tried to ‘gloss over’ in their submissions. The Judges also noted that Rimbunan Hijau has not filed any evidence to contradict Mr Molu’s claims.
There have been numerous documented instances over the past fifteen year of police officers working on behalf of Rimbunan Hijau terrorizing communities opposed to their unlawful and destructive logging operations, see for example:
- Multi-agency report confirms police working for Rimbunan Hijau
- Masalai 34 – Police Chief covering for RH atrocities
- Masalai 35 – Police Commissioner and RH
- PNG Jungle Justice 2004
- Wilderness Laid Waste by Corruption 2001
Mr Molu’s original claim for damages was dismissed for want of prosecution in April 2013, in a hearing the Supreme Court says, Mr Molu’s lawyers were never informed of by Rimbunan Hijau.
The dismissal was overturned in the National Court in September 2013. Rimbunan Hijau then appealed that decision to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has rejected RH’s appeal. The matter has now been returned to the National Court for trial.
The Supreme Court ordered Rimbunan Hijau pay all the costs of its failed appeal, including the costs of its expensive Australian QC, John Griffin, and the costs of Mr Molu.