Report reveals possible large scale land scam

The Papua New Guinea National Research Institute (NRI) has revealed in a report a possible large scale scam that affects land belonging to customary landowners in the Port Moresby LNG corridor.

This includes customary landowners of Tatana, Baruni, Roku, Kouderika, Porebada, Boera, Papa, and Lealea and business communities along the Fairfax Harbour starting with Puma at Napanapa, ending at Motukea and the Edai Township towards the PNG LNG Site.

The article report titled “Is Konebada Petroleum Park Authority a scam?” was written by Logea Nao, Belden Endekra and Lucy Hamago and published on April 2 2017.

The article states that through National Gazette No. G76 dated 07 February 2017, the Minister for Lands and Physical Planning declared over 23,000 hectares, starting at Fairfax Harbour and ending at the PNG LNG Site.

This falls within the administrative authority of the Konebada Petroleum Park Authority (KPPA).

The role of the KPPA is to facilitate, regulate and manage the Park, this includes planning and co-ordinating development through engagement of current and future stakeholders and bringing in investment.

The KPPA Act 2008 was amended in 2009 to incorporate changes after the signing of the PNG Liquefied Natural Gas Agreement.

The declared area covers sea, land, the villages except for Tatana and Baruni and all businesses within the declared area.

At the outset, it should be noted that there is a serious problem with the new boundary. The zone, as gazetted, does not exclude the LNG Project Area.

Given that the ‘schedule’ excludes Waypoint No 9, the gazetted ‘zone’ is null and void.

The article highlights that the Minister for Lands has failed to seek clarification on the status of KPPA and its funding following the Parliament Accounts Committee Report before increasing the boundary.

The Minister faulted in his due diligence by not checking whom the new boundary would affect and how it would affect them.

This has implications for traditional villages and businesses situated on this land area.

Hamago said they’re convinced from the evidence gathered that the gazette issued and authorized by the Minister for Lands is null and void according to Section 3(4) of the amended KPPA Act.

The report calls for investigations into the board and management of KPPA and KPPA Limited.

Nao and Endekra are Research Fellows in the Property Sector Development Program at PNG NRI and Hamago is a Research Project Officer in the program.

Quintina Naime