Investors warned of shady land dealers

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By HELEN TARAWA
INVESTORS and businesses have been warned to check the authenticity and validity of people selling them land before finalising any transaction.
Lands Minister Benny Allan told Parliament yesterday that some people, in particular around Port Moresby, had been claiming to own pieces of land which in fact belonged to the State.
He said some officials in the Lands Department had already been sacked or suspended because of their alleged involvement in such dubious deals.
Kerowagi MP Camillus Bongoro had queried in Parliament the “continuous preference by the Lands Department for foreign companies over local companies when it comes to awarding State lease for business purposes”.
He gave an example of three pieces of State land (Portions 214, 215 and 216) which had already been developed by a local businessman but sold to a foreign company.
Allan said it would be investigated.
He said there was no restriction under the Land Act stopping anyone from applying for land but they must check with the Lands Department.
“(Some people) are claiming to be owners of State land,” Allan said.
“So we have to double-check with the department before we go and purchase any land.
“Since I assumed office, the Government for the first time had made significant progress in cleaning up this (lands) department.”
“We have sacked and suspended eight senior officers (so far). The last officer to be suspended is the land board executive officer who sorts out all the applications to the Land Board.
“The Land Board (itself) has been suspended by National Executive Council. So the Government is really serious about cleaning up the department.

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