Commission of Inquiry

Papua New Guinea govt refuses to stop SABL inquiry

The Commission of Inquiry into the Special Agriculture and Business Lease will not be stopped, says the government.

Minister for Lands and Physical Planning Lucas Dekena told Parliament last Friday, in response to questions from Maprik MP Gabriel Kapris, that the inquiry was initiated by the former regime and the government had extended it for another three months to allow the commission to complete its work in the selected provinces.

He said the government would not stop the Commission but allow it time to submit its report to Parliament by March.

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Drekirir SABL illegal

By Luana Paniu

A K3 million agriculture and business project in Drekirkir, East Sepik Province has not been recognized by the Government as a Special Agriculture and Business Lease (SABL) despite functioning as one.

Under an agreement signed between a Malaysian Logging Company (named) and a prominent Leader, a least 56,000 hectares of land was leased in 1998 under lease-lease back arrangement for the planting of Oil Palm.

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Commission probes ITS over Western Province land deals

By Jacob Pok

THE Commission of Inquiry into the Special Agriculture Business Lease (SABL) is investigating a foreign-owned company over the acquisition of more than two million hectares of land in Western.

The Independent Timber and Stevedoring Company, a subsidiary of a US-based company, was engaged by the government to construct a 600km Trans-Papua Highway from Kiunga into Central’s Hiritano  and through three other provinces.

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Lands Officer approved SABL without Minister's consent

By Luana Paniu

A senior Government officer signed SABL approvals without the knowledge of the Minister for Lands and Physical Planning, the Commission of Inquiry in SABLs heard yesterday.

The CoI Commissioners while questioning the officer were frustrated to learn that approvals were granted without due processes being followed.

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Hundreds of new SABL cases popping up

By Luana Paniu

The Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the Special Agriculture and Business Leases (SABL’s) has revealed that there are hundreds more SABL’s beside the 75 cases now currently before them.

According to Chief Commissioner John Numapo about one million hectares of land under the SABL had suddenly ‘popped up’ throughout the five months that the inquiry had been conducting investigations into these matters.

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Baina SABL project deal suspicious

By Luana Paniu

All necessary requirements for the granting of a Special Agriculture and Business Lease (SABL) to the Baina Agro Forestry project may hold political interest, according to the Commission of Inquiry last week.

During questioning of former Central Provincial Lands Manager, Cliff Boutau, the inquiry discovered the discrepancies with this particular SABL proved that plans had already been underway for Oil Palm development under the SABL on portion 29C Milinch Kase and Fourmil Buna for the term of 45 years.

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Civil society slam loggers access to controversial SABL leases

Environmentalists in Papua New Guinea have raised concerns about foreign companies investing in controversial land leases, reports ABC Radio.

In the latest investment, Hong Kong logging firm Pacific Plywood has joined forces with China's largest state owned timber company, Longjiang Forest Industry Group.

The investors plan to develop a 628 square kilometre lease in the East Sepik Province. 

The companies say the region has more than 2.5 million cubic metres of timber. 

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Three landowners companies sign duplicate logging sub-leases

By John Pangkatana

Three separate landowner company executives have made questionable sub-lease arrangements with international forestry developers that have the same company secretary in the Gulf Province, reports the Post Courier.

Their respective sub-leases are an exact replica of each other, the Commission of Inquiry in SABLs in Gulf Province established in Port Moresby yesterday. 

The developers are also believed to be subsidiaries of a prominent Malaysian logging company in Papua New Guinea.

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Commission hearings to end by March 21st

By John Pangkatana

THE Commission of Inquiry (CoI) secretariat said they had a target to complete all listed hearings into Special Agriculture Business Leases (SABLs) by March 21, due date set by the National Government, reports the Post Courier.

Chief Commissioner John Numapo yesterday gave the assurance that despite some recent hiccups they were projected to complete all hearings listed.

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