Judicial review granted


The Waigani National Court has granted leave to judicially review a decision by the Lands and Physical Planning secretary to grant the title of certain pieces of customary land to a developer in East Sepik.
Justice Les Gavara Nanu granted leave after hearing an application made by Lawyer Michael Koimo on behalf of the customary landowners yesterday.
The leave was for the court to judicially review the decision by Lands secretary Luther Sipison and the Land Board on Oct 29 which granted title over certain areas of land in the Kanauki area of East Sepik to the Sepik Agro Industry Ltd.
Nanu, when granting leave, said the court was satisfied that the landowners had sufficient interest in the decision of the land board to grant the titles to Sepik Agro Industry.
He said that the landowners had an arguable case as there were serious issues that required proper trial.
The parties will return to court on Nov 17 for directions hearing on the substantive matter.
The landowners – Harry Juni, Lucy Benguma, Vitus Wafi and Ricky Sausimani – also represented other landowners from 12 villages – Merohombi, Simbomie, Howi, Haripmo, Witipi, Sengri, Maringe, Hinges, Hagama, Yehimbole, Javari and Sara – in Yangoru, East Sepik.
The portions covered are portions number 61, 63, 65, 68, 70-75, 77, 88, 89 and portions 90–96.
The originating summons proceedings named Lands and Physical Planning minister Benny Allan, Lands and Physical Planning secretary Luther Sipison, PNG Land Board chairman Sam Wange, Trade, Commerce and Industry minister Richard Maru, Sepik Agro-Industry Limited, Kumul Consolidated Holdings, Innovative Agro-Industry Ltd and the State as defendants.

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