Oro Lands Division Questions Transfer of Land Titles

by Serah Aupong – EM TV News, Port Moresby

The Lands Division in Oro province is questioning the transfer of a lands title for a large portion of land near Popondetta town.

Oro Governor, Gary Juffa, said the moratorium on SABLs in the country and specifically the one created by the Oro Provincial Government, has special protocols in place which this particular, lands title transfer did not follow.

Juffa says the land in question is portion 373, Milinch Sangara at Double Cross outside Popondetta.

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.

Governor Juffa says this has not happened but the title is now in the hands of a former employee of a logging company that was found to be operating illegally in the province and have since closed their operations.

The land in question used to be a storage space for that company.

Juffa says this issue came to light when a court order and police were used to forcibly remove over 20 families who have settled on this land.

The settlers are all victims of the 2007 cyclone Guba.

The investigations into this latest transfer of land in the Oro province will add to the ongoing land cases that the province is reviewing.

Since the moratorium on SABL, Oro Province has been successful in revoking illegal land deals and restoring titles to customary land owners.

Part of the zero tolerance in land grabbing in Oro Province is the empowering of the Lands Division where they will put together a land enforcement unit that will monitor land deals in the province.

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