The Supreme Court on June 02, 2023 upheld the decision and squashed the judgement of the National Court given on the October 21, 2022, OS (JR) No: 82 of 2021.
The land in this case is described as Portion 4035C, Milinch of Granville, Fourmil, in Port Moresby, registered within the State Lease description, Volume 37, Folio 186.
The applicant's application for Judicial review was granted and order in the nature of certiorari was made.
An order in the nature of declaration and Compulsory acquisition is ultra vires and therefore declared illegal, null and void from the beginning.
Also among other orders the Supreme Court declared that State named as forth respondent did not Compulsory acquire the land through the Compulsory acquisition process under the Lands Act, 1996.
The Court also squashed the State Lease Title granted to National Capital District as the second respondent over the land described within the State Lease Volume 95, Folio 138
A further order by the Court squashed the certificate pursuant to section 13(06) of the Lands Act, 1996 published in the National Gazette on the 4th April 2019, by the then Minister both concerning the purported Compulsory acquisition of the land Portion 4035C.
The court directed the Registrar of Titles under Section 155(4) of the Constitution to revoke and cancel the State Lease Title awarded to NCD forthwith.
The court also directed the Secretary of the Department of Lands and Physical Planning, Benjamin Samson to immediately list the appellant's application for State Lease over the land before the PNG Lands Board in the next sitting for deliberation and grant of the title forthwith.
The court was informed that the former Minister failed in his part when he failed to give notice to treat as required under Section 13(1) of the Lands Act , 1996 and published a notice in the National Gazette (Gazette No: G265) dated 4th April 2019, stating the actions were on behalf of the state to acquire the land by Compulsory process for public purpose.
The Court was informed by the appellant's lawyer that the use of the phrase 'special reasons' as the reason to acquire the land on Compulsory process was wrong as the true motive behind the former Minister's action was for the purpose of settlement.
Meantime, when this newsroom contacted the former Minister for Lands and Physical Planning, Justin Tkatchenko for clarifications, he said to get more information on the matter.