Govt to outlaw 'scam' land leases

Source: The National

SPECIAL agriculture business leases are nothing but a “scam” used by logging companies and will be outlawed immediately, Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says.

He told a radio talkback show yesterday that the logging companies and certain individuals in Government were preying on the innocent and unassuming people in rural areas.

He responded to callers from around the country on the FM100 talkback show complaining about SABLs and the damage they were doing.

O’Neill said the National Executive Council at its next meeting would outlaw SABLs.

“Developers come in the guise of developing agriculture projects but get into logging. Our aim is to cancel all the SABLs in the country.”

He said several departments were responsible for issuing SABLs.

“There was not one department fully responsible for SABL,” he said.

“They were approved through forestry, agriculture, lands. There’s a big scam that’s going on. We all understand that now.

“Thousands of hectares of land are given to individuals, foreigners, displacing our people. This is a serious crime against our own people.”

O’Neill said certain leaders and public servants had given away traditional land with no sense of guilt whatsoever.

“Some of our leaders have had a no-care attitude,” he said.

“They’re participating in engaging with some of these foreign companies.

“One or two of them have benefitted enormously.

“They make millions and millions of kina out of this and become rich overnight at the expense of the majority of our people.”