Over 200 Settlers in Saraga were evicted today by Police acting on a court order.
A Papua New Guinean company has a business lease over the land, obtained in 2014.
Settlers allege the land was obtained in a questionable manner.
Today, an excavator goes through fences, homes and stores at the Saraga settlement. A construction company is taking control of land it claims to have a title over since 2014.
Customary landowner, Sina Saraga, says his land is still customary land.
“It’s my traditional land, my father put his sister and her husband here when independence came, they sold this land and went to Australia,” says Sagara.
His lawyer, Peter Sine, argues that the land was an SABL and should have never been obtained after the in-law died. It should have reverted to the customary land owner.
“A business ease over the special business argiculture lease and the allegation by fraud, illegality and corruption,” says Sine.
The Papua New Guinean Company could not speak on camera without its board members permission, but a senior executive explained to EMTV News that they had purchased the land legally from the lands department under a business lease; they say they have been paying over K100,000 in annual land rates since 2014.
The senior executive also says that the company had paid the settlers between K2,000 to K40,000, and they issued an eviction notice which expired on the 31st of December last year.
It’s understood that Police on the ground were acting on a court order to help the company evict the settlers. But, settlers say they weren’t shown any.
“The Assistant Commissioner, Sylvester Kalaut, he is the only person who must give the eviction notice in NCD, in Central… here we asked for eviction notice, these police personnel never produce any,” says Settlers Spokes person, Aaron Waula.
The tussle between the land portions may continue in court, but for these women and their children, tonight will be their first night without a home.