16 Sep 2009

Land Ministry has hurt Solomon Islands economy says Commissioner

10:23 am on 16 September 2009

Solomon Islands new Lands Commissioner says corruption in the Lands Ministry has hurt the country's economy.

Ruth Liloqula recently became the country's first female Lands Commissioner in addition to her role as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey.

She says her office is working on a government policy to reclaim crown land that's been sold or never developed due to unscrupulous deals involving ministry officials.

She says huge amounts of money are involved, with land being offered for up to five million US dollars.

Ruth Liloqula says the country's economic development has been held back as a result of the deals, to the detriment of the people of Solomon Islands.

"They have lost out on land, they have lost out on money, and the Government has lost out also in terms of economic gain from the land that it owns."

Ruth Lioqula says owners are reluctant to let go of customary land, having seen how the government can't manage its own land.