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Land in PNG stolen, Juffa says

Papua New Guinea Governor Gary Juffa, says 12 per cent of land in Papua New Guinea covering 65,000 hectares have been “stolen” under the guise of Special Agriculture Business Leases (SABLs).

“Today’s world is driven by profit and greed,” he said during a debate on the ministerial statement by Lands and Physical Planning Minister Benny Allan on the status of SABLs.

“The SABL situation saw 65,000 hectares of land – 12 per cent of Papua New Guinea – literally stolen from Papua New Guineans.

“Yes, the SABL idea was a great idea, like many great ideas that come here, but was hijacked by those with ulterior motives and purposes, profit and greed.”

He said that those charged with protecting the interests of the people had failed to recognise the threats and as a result, 12 per cent of Papua New Guinea was stolen.

Juffa said it was good to see the establishment of a K15 million SABL inquiry, “but the cost of that 65,000 hectares, we have not yet calculated”.

He said only 425 hectares of the total were deemed to be legitimate SABLs.

“When the reports were furnished, the prime minister made an undertaking that those SABLs would be cancelled, and actions would be taken against those named in the report, entities, individuals, etc.

“It has taken almost three years.

“I feel that the government departments responsible have dragged their feet, have not acted responsibly or have not taken heed of the prime minister’s instructions.”

Juffa said when it was first deemed that special agriculture business leases were illegal, the Government should have evicted the operators.

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