Lands claims 'legal issues hindering cancellation of SABLs'


The Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, and the Lands Minister, Benny Allen promised in April that all Special Agriculture Business Leases (SABLs) were being cancelled. Their promises came one after another, seemingly coordinated to placate the public on the eve of elections. But now the Lands Department is claiming 'legal issues' have prevented any cancellations - see report below. It looks like the Prime Minister and the Lands Minister's promises were just empty words...

Source: The National Newspaper

THE Lands Department has not cancelled any Special Agriculture Business Leases (SABLs) yet due to legal issues.
Oswald Tolopa, a deputy secretary for corporate services, said yesterday that there were several matters that needed to be addressed.
He advised SABL-holders to meet with the landowners after which they approach the department to register the land under the Customary Land Registration Act.
“This is an issue that needs to be addressed at the community level. We ask all leaseholders to discuss with the local communities, come to an agreement and come to us at the Lands Department to assist them,” Tolopa said.
He was responding to questions at a National Development Forum in Port Moresby yesterday.
Tolopa said the registrar had issued notices to all leaseholders to surrender them but some were reluctant to do as they had already started developing the land.
He said if the administrative process failed to resolve the situation, they would have to go to the court.