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O’Neill’s illegal logging: 672 days and counting…

April 27, 2015 Leave a comment

672

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.

It is now 672 days since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was told that the SABL leases were unlawful and should be cancelled.

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” 

But, WE ARE STILL WAITING for the leases to be cancelled and the logging stopped.

For 672 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.

Crucially he has failed to take any action to remove the corrupt public servants responsible for the land grab or distance himself from the politicians, including key Minister’s, complicit in the illegal deals and who are now blocking any positive action to revoke the leases and stop the logging.

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

The thirteen MPs so far charged, waiting sentence or imprisoned

April 27, 2015 Leave a comment

From ACT NOW!

For those of you who are keeping track, this is an update on the Papua New Guinea members of Parliament who have been charged or found guilty and await sentence or have been imprisoned to date:

CHARGED: Francis Awesa, MP for Imbonggu, Works Minister

Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission, Nov 2014 for unlawfully engrossed a public easement for personal use and in the process denied the public right of access and failure to disclose a property. Public Prosecutor requested a Leadership Tribunal, March 2015

CHARGED: Delilah Gore, MP for Sohe, Community Development Minister

Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission, January 2015

CHARGED: John Hickey, MP for Bogia

Arrested and charged by police for misappropriation of K700,000, March 2015

PRISON: Havila Kavo, MP for Gulf

Found guilty of misusing US$50,000 from a trust account. Sentenced to three years prison, December 2014

GUILTY: Ronny Knight, MP for Manus

Found guilty of misappropriation of K900,000 by a Leadership Tribunal, March 2015. Awaiting sentencing.

CHARGED: Boka Kondra, North Fly MP and Tourism Minister

Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission and suspended from Office for alleged misappropriation and misuse of funds including K85, 276 from the DSIP funds and District Support Grant; K134, 966 from DSIP and DSG funds in rental payments for accommodation in Port Moresby; and K18, 200 from the DSIP and DSG

CHARGED: James Lagea, Kagua-Erave MP

Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission in January 2015 for his failure to submit Financial Returns as required under Section 89 of the Organic Law on the Integrity of Political Parties and Candidates and his failure in upholding his duties and responsibilities of office as required under Section 27 of the Constitution and the Organic Law on the Duties and Responsibilities of Leaderhship.

CHARGED: Ben Micah, Kavieng MP and Public Service Minister

Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission, March 2015

The referral may relate to allegations the Minister has been living at the Grand Papua Hotel at the taxpayers expense

CHARGED: Belden Namah – Vanimo-Green MP

Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission for alleged misconduct in office, April 2015. Mr Namah faces at least 16 categories of misconduct, including failure to declare his election expenses and failure to acquit public funds among others.

CHARGED: Peter O’Neill – Ialibu Pangia MP and Prime Minister

Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission over accusations of bypassing proper procedures to secure a $1.3 billion loan from UBS bank to buy Oil Search shares for the PNG government. The referral is currently being challenged in the Supreme Court. O’Neill is also using the courts to challenge an arrest warrant issued in June 2014 over allegations of fraud

PRISON: Francis Potape, Komo-Magarima MP

Found guilty of misappropriation of over US$100,000, October 2014, and sentenced to 30 months prison

CHARGED: Puka Temu, Abau MP

Referred to the Public Prosecutor by the Ombudsman Commission, March 2015, for alleged misconduct in office. The first allegation relates to the facilitation and allocation of a piece of state land to a group in Western Highlands when he was Lands Minister in the Somare-Temu Government. The second allegation refers to a road contract awarded by the Abau Joint District Planning and Budget Priorities Committee, allegedly to a company owned by a close relative of Sir Puka.

PRISON: Paul Tiensten, Pomio MP and Minister for National Planning

Sentenced to nine years prison in 2014 for stealing over K10 million.

In February 2015 convicted over the theft of a further K3.4 million with a further 3 years added on his sentence.

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 665 days and counting…

April 20, 2015 Leave a comment

665

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

billboard poster - give land back to landowners

cartoon showing Peter O'Neill being fed by Rimbunan Hijau while he sits on a pile of SABL reports

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 660 days and counting…

April 15, 2015 Leave a comment

660

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.

It is now 660 days since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was told that the SABL leases were unlawful and should be cancelled.

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.

SIX60

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” 

But, WE ARE STILL WAITING for the leases to be cancelled and the logging stopped.

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

For 660 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.

Crucially he has failed to take any action to remove the corrupt public servants responsible for the land grab or distance himself from the politicians, including key Minister’s, complicit in the illegal deals and who are now blocking any positive action to revoke the leases and stop the logging.

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.

cartoon showing Peter O'Neill being fed by Rimbunan Hijau while he sits on a pile of SABL reports

Compulsory purchase used to seize land and replace flawed SABL lease

April 13, 2015 6 comments

px-logo land grabbing

It seems the Department of Lands could be about to embark on a scheme to replace the now discredited and unlawful SABL leases with new land titles acquired using the compulsory acquisition powers in the Lands Act.

The SABL Commission of Inquiry has exposed how the Department of Lands fraudulently issued 99-year leases over large parcels of customary land totaling some 5.2 million hectares. The SABL leases were issued to foreign companies without following the mandated processes in the Lands Act and without the informed consent of customary landowners.

The Commission of Inquiry recommended the illegal leases be revoked but the government has failed to follow this advice. The only SABL leases that have been revoked are those that have been challenged through the courts and declared null and void by a judge. But the companies holding SABL leases remain nervous that their unlawfully acquired rights could be extinguished at some point in the future and are looking for ways to protect their positions. And its seems that once again, it could be the Department of Lands that comes to their assistance.

Gazette No.G146_4Mar15_p1The Department has recently used the compulsory purchase powers in the Lands Act to acquire Portion 2467C, a block of water front customary land outside Port Moresby that was previously subject to an SABL lease. The Department has issued a new 99 year lease over 12.5 hectares, now called Portion 2703C, to a company called Firewall Logistics. The compulsory acquisition was gazetted in a notice dated 4 March, 2015 (see below).

This appears to be an attempt to override any flaws in the original SABL lease and insure the company gets a defensible title to the land.

The compulsory purchase powers in the Lands Act are specifically supposed to be used only for public purposes such as acquiring land for schools, clinics or subsistence agriculture. To use those powers to benefit a private company seems to be a breach of the Lands Act and unlawful. But acting unlawfully is something that is very much the norm in the Lands Department.

The land that has been compulsorily acquired sits alongside two other land portions also subject to SABL leases and that were investigated by the Commission of Inquiry.

The CoI found Portions 2465C and 2466C were fraudulently obtained by the Kassman family under three SABL leases. The Commission concluded:

“There was misrepresentation and fraud involved in the whole process” [Report p164], and landowner signatures were forged in “a criminal act” [p150].

“The whole process was riddled with defects and flaws” [p157] and “it was obvious that officers from DLPP [including] Romily Kila-Pat deliberately decided to ignore and by-pass the existing protocols and practices” [p153].

The CoI recommended:

“those responsible must be held accountable for their unlawful conduct and actions” [p165]

Of course nobody has been held accountable, and ironically Romilly Kila Pat (despite his numerous crimes) is still Secretary for the Department of Lands and, as the delegate of the Minister, issued the notice of Compulsory Acquisition for the new lease.

Gazette No.G146_4Mar15_p1

Gazette No.G146_4Mar15_p2

Government shifting blame for land grab onto the victims and refusing to act

April 11, 2015 1 comment

Despite the Prime Minister’s sweet talk the government has no intention of reversing the SABL land grab and will instead continue to defend the foreign companies illegally logging our forests and the corrupt public servants who put them there…

Give the Land back_banner

Government should not shift the blame on SABL Land Grab

ACT NOW!

It has been 655 days since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was informed the SABLs were unlawful and should be cancelled. But instead of taking action to reverse the illegal land grab the government is now blaming landowners for creating the problem and claiming it has to defend the interests of foreign logging companies.

act nowSpeaking on a national radio, the Secretary for the Department of Justice has responded directly to ACT NOW’s call for the SABLs to be cancelled and land returned to customary landowners, by saying the landowners were at fault for entering the leases. This directly contradicts the findings of the Commission of Inquiry and previous promises from the Prime Minister.

The Commission of Inquiry into the SABL land grab uncovered serious irregularities and unlawful actions by public servants in issuing the leases, however to- date nothing has been done to cancel the illegal leases or stop the logging. Instead, all we have had is sweet-talking.

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 May 2014, O’Neill referred to the SABL’s as a ‘scam’ and in June 2014 he announced an NEC decision cancelling the leases, saying:

“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”

But on Thursday’s (9th April) PNGFM Mauswara Program on logging and SABL the government position seemed to have changed. ACT NOW! publicly urged the Prime Minister and the government to fast track the process to cancel the leases and give back the 5.2 million hectares of customary land acquired under the SABL scam.

In response, the Secretary for Department of Justice and Attorney General, Dr. Lawrence Kalinoe called in and blamed the landowners for entering into the SABL deals. Further, he said, “canceling SABL leases is not something easy as claimed by ACT NOW! The State has already incurred liabilities totaling K80 million”.

Who facilitated the incurring of these State liabilities and who are they owed to? What has the Government done about those corrupt officials still on Government payroll?

The Commission of Inquiry identified all the abuses in the Department of Lands and the officers responsible for the fraudulent and unlawful leases but the Government it seems now prefers to blame the landowners rather than try and protect their interests. If the SABL deals were illegal as uncovered in the CoI report and in various court cases, then there should be no case against the State as claimed by Kalinoe.

O’Neill’s illegal logging: 655 days and counting…

April 10, 2015 Leave a comment

655

Peter O'Neill: Theft of forest resources: Guilty

cartoon showing Peter O'Neill being fed by Rimbunan Hijau while he sits on a pile of SABL reports

SABL_billboard

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