NGO wary about PNG govt promises on SABLs
A Papua New Guinea NGO has responded cautiously to a signal by the government that it is advancing with the process of revoking land leases issued under a fraudulent lease system.
A Papua New Guinea NGO has responded cautiously to a signal by the government that it's advancing with the process of revoking land leases issued under a fraudulent lease system.
A special task force was established last year to consider how to implement findings from a Commission of Inquiry into the Special Agriculture & Business Leases system.
When tabled in 2013, the inquiry reports found that over 90 percent of the leases were illegally obtained from customary landowners and should be revoked.
The government says laws around the leases are ineffective to revoke illegal leases, therefore amendments to legislation are being considered.
Effrey Dademo of community advocacy group ACT NOW told Johnny Blades their message is very clear:
EFFREY DADEMO: The leases were found to be legal and the recommendations were to revoke those leases so the commission of inquiry didn't really say anything about the fact that there was insufficient legal means to cancel those leases so I am not really sure how and there is not really much explanation as to why there has to be legislative amendments etc, etc but what we view that as is basically more delays to implementing the recommendations and with the cancellation of the leases they reckon this is a administrative matter and it can easily be done by the lands department. So it is something that should have been done a long time ago. I am not sure why the government keeps putting in place committees after committees to look into what has already been looked into. So for us we are not really optimistic that this is going to happen.
JOHNNY BLADES: This has been a long process already hasn't it the commission of inquiry was commissioned back in I think 2011. That is a long time ago now.
ED: Yeah, this is like the third year now since the report was officially presented to parliament. So we have heard before that there was one ministerial committee that actually looked into the whole recommendations and then they made a report. We don't know what the terms of that report to government was. And also they are saying there is a report this time round by this particular committee. And the report has yet to be tabled that is how we understand it. Whatever this committee has come up with has yet to go before parliament. And so for us this part where it goes before parliament we are not sure that is going to happen anytime soon. But if the chief secretary has actually said it is going to happen then we are holding him to his word.
JB: I mean it was September 2013 when the Prime Minister told parliament that these leases were overwhelmingly corrupt and fraudulent. Action would be taken you would think?
ED: Yes we were expecting that to happen but for some reason it has dragged on and on. And they have been setting up commissions they have been setting up committees to look into the report that has already been released by a commission of inquiry. So for us it is like, how many other committees are going to be commissioned to look into this whole process again.
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