by Quinton Alomp – EM TV News, Port Moresby
A landowner outside Port Moresby has been left confused after his land was taken over by an agricultural company.
The company identified as Niugini Oil Palm Limited, obtained a formal land title, but landowner Iama Homoka says he was never consulted.
The company has already commenced work in the area, between Duran farm and Boteka village near Laloki River, preparing to turn that land into an oil palm plantation.
Iama is unhappy with the company obtaining a large portion of land without his consent.
He approached the company on site but was surprised when a formal land title was shown to him.
A copy of the title shows that the 341 hectares of land on portion 1489 was a former agricultural land leased to Duran farm for a period of 99 years.
However, the 99 year period has lapsed.
The title was then transferred to Fresh Food Marketing Corporation Limited and on 25 June 1991, was transferred to Niugini Oil Palm Limited.
Three months ago, the area was fenced and the current title holder prepared the site for planting oil palm.
The landowner claims that it’s customary land and is appealing for an investigation.
“The government must help us landowners to fight land grabbing,” Iama says.
In Parliament yesterday, Lands minister, Benny Allan, clarified that any land area leased under the 99 year contract will not be given back to the landowners after the contract expires.
This includes land obtained during colonial administration.
Instead it will remain as state land.
Minister Allan said the department is not entertaining compensation for any land obtained during colonial administration.
But this idea is still not acceptable for Iama as he says the land now belongs to him.
He maintains that as the rightful landowner of the land, he has to be consulted before any further developmen’s happen on his land.