Legitimate LOs get title after 13 years

After a long court battle of 13 years, the land title for the Gire Gire Estate will now be returned to the legitimate landowners.

This comes after the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal filed by Barava Limited, challenging the decision of the National Court dated 7 October 2016.

That decision of the National Court nullified the Special Agricultural Business Lease given to Barava Ltd, on portion 101, 102 and 307, on Milinch, Kokopo, East New Britain Province.

The National Court ordered the Department of Lands and Physical Planning, through the registrar of titles and the Minister for Lands, to issue the lease to Gire Gire Estates Limited.

The court found that the actions of the Registrar of Titles then (Raga Kavana) and Sir Puka Temu, as minister for Lands and Physical Planning then, contradicted sections 11 and 102 of the Lands Act of 1996.

This was because there was no instrumental lease in the approved form given by the legitimate landowners of Gire Gire Plantation, thus proper identification of the legitimate landowners was not done.

On 4 November 2016, the Office of the Registrar of Titles, at the Department of Lands and Physical Planning, acted on the court order, cancelling the state lease to Barava Ltd.

That title cancellation was stayed in the appeal filed by Barava Ltd.

Last month, the Supreme Court entered orders of the court dated Aug 31, giving effect of the decision to dismiss the appeal filed by Barava Ltd.

The dispute over the land has been in place since 2004.

Sally Pokiton