by Quinton Alomp – EM TV, Port Moresby
A new twist has emerged from the land grabbing saga at Milinch Sangara Double cross outside Popondetta town.
Last week, Northern Province Governor, Gary Juffa, questioned how an Asian company obtained the land without the Provincial Executive Council’s approval.
The Northern Governor today revealed more new information to the already heated land saga.
New information brought to light shows that the owner of the Asian company, believed to be from Philippines, cannot communicate either in English or Tok Pisin.
Juffa is questioning how the land titles were awarded.
According to the Oro province moratorium on land transfer all land deals are to be presented to the provincial Executive Council for deliberation and approval.
But this was not the case. Over 20 families who have been living on this portion of land after being hit by cyclone Guba in 2007 were evicted.
Governor Juffa who has been very critical on land grabbing around PNG, is raising serious questions about the ability of the Lands department to have an investigative and assessment team.
“The Lands Department also can’t trace its officers in provinces who are selling the land illegally,” Juffa said.
This has raised serious questions on when the government will fully act on the recommendations of the Special National News Business Leases.
Through several public forums this year, the Lands Department said no land will be given to foreigners and the recommendations of the SABL report will be implemented.
But to date little progress has been made.
“If you look through the recommendations of the SABL report, some officers implicated are still there, in fact some of them are being promote,” said Juffa.
This latest transfer of land near Popondetta town will add to the ongoing land cases that the province is reviewing.
However, strong urgency is being given to the government to join the fight against land grabbing and investigate and prosecute those abusing proper processes.
Governor Juffa said they will investigate those involved and will deal with them through the law.