Tkatchenko slams acting Secretary’s comments

The Lands Minister has criticised the acting official secretary of the Governor General’s office for his misleading comments pertaining to the lands appeal process.

The acting official secretary has reportedly said the Head of State is not bound to accept and comply with recommendations from the Lands Minister.

However, during a press briefing today, Lands Minister Justin Tkatchenko refuted the statement, saying the Lands Minister gives the final advice or approval, while the Governor General is then given an advice for him to ‘only’ endorse.

This falls under Section 62 of the Land Act 1996.

“The acting secretary has misled the Governor General, for whatever reason. The Constitution is very clear about the Governor General’s role,” stated Tkatchenko.

Section 62, subsection 4 says: Subject to Subsection (5), the Head of State, acting on advice, shall determine an appeal under this section, and his decision is final.

While Subsection 5 reads: Where an appeal under this section is upheld, the Head of State, acting on advice, may refer the matter back to the Land Board for re-hearing.

The Minister then outlined processes involved with land application.

“Firstly those Papua New Guineans that applied for land get interviewed by the PNG Lands Board,” he said.

After making sure all the process are correctly done, the PNG Lands Board as an independent body awards, or certifies, that the piece of land should go to the particular applicant.

After that it goes through an appeal process if another individual/body has also applied for the same land.

“Applicants will have to justify their appeal to the PNG Lands Board where the board will make an assessment on whether or not to approve the appeal, then the decision goes to the Lands secretary to either endorse or not,” said Tkatchenko.

“The Lands Minister will give his final advice and approval.

 “The Governor General is then given an advice for him to endorse only.”

Carmella Gware