3 May 2006

PNG lands department labelled impediment to development

7:43 pm on 3 May 2006

Papua New Guinea's Public Accounts Committee has described the country's Department of Lands as an impediment to national development and economic growth and says it needs to be brought under control.

The Post Courier newspaper reports that the Committee recommends that a commission of inquiry be appointed immediately to look into land grants made over the last 10 years.

The newspaper quotes the report as saying the Department of Lands and Physical Planning may have been responsible for the planned and deliberate granting of reserved land, national park, or open space land into private hands for little or no recompense to the state.

It also says the department has conducted itself illegally and often in a corrupt manner in the allocation of registering of state leases, granting of licenses, giving of ministerial exemptions, dealing with customary land and in its fiscal obligation to the state.

The committee says the inquiry should make recommendations for the rebuilding of the department and basic steps to be taken to restore confidence and credibility to the department and the system of land registration and land security in the country.

The report is expected to be tabled in the next parliamentary session