Chief Secretary looking increasingly desperate and ridiculous over SABL land grab

Source: PNG Exposed

The government’s Chief Secretary, Manasupe Zurenuoc, has started issuing contradictory statements as he becomes increasingly desperate in his attempts to justify the inaction over the SABL land grab.

Monday the Chief Secretary said NGOs were unreasonable in their demands and the government hadn’t been able to act for 28 months because new legislation is necessary to cancel the unlawful leases.

But yesterday [see story below] he said the only option available to the state is to take the matter to court.

Which is it Zurenuoc, legislation or court action that is needed to cancel the leases?

And more to the point, why has the government done neither?

The truth is that after 28 months sitting on the Commission of Inquiry findings the government has failed to challenge a single unlawful SABL through the courts and it has not made any attempt to change the law..

At least the Chief Sec has got one thing right:

“It is widely known that vast amounts of pristine forest have been logged to enrich a corrupt few people, while landowners have unknowingly lost their most valuable asset – their land”.

What the Chief Sec forgot to add was that it is the government, through the PNG Forest Authority that has been annually renewing the Forest Clearance Authorities allowing the logging to continue.

If you really want to stop the logging, simply stop issuing the FCAs!

Govt frustrated at efforts to stop abuse of SABLs
Source: The National(owned by serial illegal logger and SABL land grabber Rimbunan Hijau)

THE Government says it has been frustrated in its efforts to stop the abuse of special agriculture and business leases by court challenges.
Chief Secretary Sir Manasupe Zurenuoc said in a statement: “It is widely known that vast amounts of pristine forest have been logged to enrich a corrupt few people, while landowners have unknowingly lost their most valuable asset – their land.
“It is disappointing to see that some parties have continued to support SABLs and they have continued to log and destroy our forest.
“The Government has taken all available steps yet it is met by costly and time-consuming legal challenges and misinformation. The current legal system does not provide a speedy and economic way to cancel SABLs. The only way to cancel a SABL is if the leaseholder voluntarily surrenders the lease.
“Obviously leaseholders have refused to do this, meaning the only option available to the state is to take the matter to court.
“As we all know, court battles are long and costly. Leaseholders have vast amounts of money at their disposal and while the matter is dragging out, they log the land for their own profit.
“Some leaseholders have even taken the extreme action of trying to prevent the implementation of the recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry.
“A court order has been obtained by leaseholders that purport to quash the findings of the Commission.
“This is very unfortunate. The commission found that in one of the cases examined in East Sepik, all landowners were not consulted or fully informed.”