by Serah Aupong – EM TV News, Port Moresby
The Wewak National Court has ordered that the recommendations to cancel SABL’s be quashed.
A Wewak company has issued a statement saying that a court order by Justice Iova Geita on the 20th of August this year 2015, effectively stops any further SABL dealings coming from the Commission of Inquiry’s report and recommendations.
This comes after the Chief Secretary announced last week that a Taskforce is in place to implement the recommendations.
The first of the seven orders states that: “The findings and recommendations into Special Agriculture Business Leases contained in the Interim report and Final Report of Commissioner John Numapo dated 24th June 2013 and Commissioner Nicholas Mirou dated 24th June 2013 is quashed.
According to Limawo Holding’s lawyer, Copland Raurela, this is the most important order as he says it makes “null and void” the recommendations made by the Commission of Inquiry Report.
Limawo Holding Limited and the East Sepik Provincial Government have interests in Portion 144C, which covers 250 thousand hectares the East Sepik Province.
It was one of the SABL’s that was recommended to be cancelled by the Commission of Enquiry.
Rurealla said the main grounds they argued on were that to date, only two out of the 3 Commissioners have handed in their reports.
They also argued that when the recommendations were handed down in June 2013, the Commission of Inquiry was already without powers since the extension of the SABL COI ended in March 2012. They argued specifically to portion 144C that the recommendation to cancel this lease was “unreasonable”.
The other six orders deal directly with portion 144C. Godfrey Raushem, Limawos General Manager, Godfrey Raushem said they have the support of the East Sepik Provincial Government.
Last week the Chief Secretary, Sir Manasupe announced that a report by a Taskforce Committee to implement the recommendations by the COI has been completed and cancellations to on fraudulent SABLs were forthcoming.
However, Raurella says according to this court order, anything done based on the COI report is now illegal.