by Stanley Ove Jr – EM TV News, Port Moresby
Secretary for Lands and Physical Planning, Romilly Kila Pat, has maintained the Lands Department’s stance on removing illegal settlements in Port Moresby.
Kila Pat said only settlers who have proper land title documents will be able to avoid seeing eviction notices handed to them.
In the past week, over 30 homes have been destroyed in Port Moresby after foreign owned companies moved in to claim land at 4 Mile and Konedobu.
Today, in an interview with EMTV News, Secretary Kila Pat said an investigation will be carried out to find out how the two foreign owned companies acquired the titles to those lands.
“I will immediately disperse a team of compliance officers to inspect those sights and verify the status of the land,” he said.
Kila Pat also made clear that land within the limits of the city is essentially state owned. With that in mind, customary landowners and land title holders must be aware that the city is developing and land must be made available for this purpose.
“The reality is that the state needs land to expand to provide services to our people,” he said
Meanwhile, he issued a stern warning to developers and foreign investors who are looking for land in the city. Kila Pat said they must go the Lands Department to acquire proper land titles and documents before moving on to land that is occupied by people.
However, he said if developers are dealing directly with landowners, the department will only act as facilitators to agreements made between landowners and developers.