It has been 655 days since Prime Minister Peter O’Neill was informed the SABLs were unlawful and should be cancelled. But instead of taking action to reverse the illegal land grab the government is now blaming landowners for creating the problem and claiming it has to defend the interests of foreign logging companies.
The Prime Minister must take decisive action to ensure those implicated in the K780 million Department of Finance fraud are brought to justice and the monies recovered, says community advocacy group, ACT NOW!
The Finance Department Commission of Inquiry uncovered massive fraud involving law firms and senior bureaucrats. K780 million of public money was stolen over a five-year period but nobody has been prosecuted for their crimes and none of the monies have been recovered.
This Thursday, March 5th, the community advocacy group, ACT NOW! is staging a “Birthday Bash” at the Holiday Inn to mark the fifth anniversary of the Commission Report being tabled in Parliament.
Community activist group ACT NOW! is supporting a call from the United Nations for a moratorium on new mining activities in Papua New Guinea but says the analysis and policy changes recommended by the global body do not go far enough.
Forest Minister Douglas Tomuriesa needs to ensure all logging in SABL areas is immediately stopped says community activist group, ACT NOW!
This follows assurances from the Minister that 74 Special Agriculture and Business Lease that were illegally obtained have been revoked and customary landowners would retain their land.
"The Minister is claiming the leases have been revoked, but logging still continues in many of the areas", says Eddie Paine, Campaign Coordinator for ACT NOW! "The Minister needs to ensure the logging is immediately stopped as it is illegal."
The Asia Pacific Rainforest Summit being hosted this week by the Australian Government, must address the serious problems of land grabbing and illegal logging in Papua New Guinea and the rampant corruption that underpins them, says community activist group, ACT NOW!
The forests of Papua New Guinea form part of the third largest remaining tract of tropical rainforest left on the planet - but ACT NOW! says this forest is quickly disappearing thanks to land grabbing and illegal logging by the Malaysian dominated logging industry.
Australia is the largest single beneficiary of rampant and unsustainable logging and land grabbing in Papua New Guinea, according to leading community activist group, ACT NOW!
Moves by the government to review the Lands Act and introduce revised legislation are premature and focus attention away from the real problem - corruption, says community activist group, ACT NOW!
“Changes to the law ignore the corruption that is at the root of most of the current problems with land administration and therefore any changes will do nothing to stop the ongoing abuses”, says Program Manager Effrey Dademo.
The PNG Forest Authority will not take responsibility and stop logging in Special Agriculture Business Lease (SABL) areas despite overwhelming evidence the logging is unlawful, says community activist group ACT NOW!
ACT NOW! and the Bismarck Ramu Group have warned the Prime Minister that landowners will not be satisfied until they know the NEC decision to cancel the unlawful SABL leases and amend the Land Act has been implemented.
They are also calling on the National Forest Board to immediately revoke the Forest Clearance Authorities granted under the SABL leases and stop the illegal logging.
John Chitoa says while the announcement of the NEC decision is an encouraging sign promises have been made before without any follow up action.