Court to review land title to Sepik Agro Industry Limited

Leave was granted or allowed by the Waigani National Court to review a decision of the Lands Secretary in granting land titles of certain customary land portions to a developer in the East Sepik Province.

Justice Les Gavara Nanu granted leave for the court to conduct a judicial review of the decision by Luther Sipision on October 29, 2015, where he granted titles over certain portions of lands in the Kanauki area of East Sepik to the Sepik Agro Industry Limited.

Customary landowners; Harry Juni, Lucy Benguma, Vitus Wafi, Ricky Sausimani and other landowners from 12 different villages including Merohombi, Simbomie, Howi, Haripmo,Witipi, Sengri, Maringe, Hinges, Hagama, Yehimbole, Javari and Sara villages of Yangoru in East Sepik are the applicants in the case.

Defendants listed in the matter are Minister for Lands Benny Allan as first defendant, Sipison as second defendant, Sam Wange Chairman of PNG Land Board as third defendant.  Richard Maru, Minister for Commerce and Trade and Yangoru Sausia MP is the fourth defendant.

The portions of land titles which will come under review of the National Court are portions number 61, 63, 65, 68, 70-75, 77, 88, 89 and portions 90-96 in East Sepik.

Justice Gavara Nanu allowed the review to be heard after he was satisfied the landowners had an arguable case with sufficient interest.

Parties in the case are expected back in court on Nov 17 for directions before a hearing date can be set on the substantive matter.




Sally Pokiton