miz

Landowners give OK for investment on land

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Investors are most welcome to invest in the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone project in Madang, according to landowners who have taken the Government to court over the project land.
Landowners of Portion 625 where the project will be located said this in response to media statements made this week by Minister for Commerce and Industry Wera Mori.
Patrick Yal, representing Bamaya Wana clan of Rempi, Pais Kob, of Halopa Masualaug clan of Midiba, Joseph Kubali, of Sarepi clan of Dubup, Willie Kaitok, representing the Barpi clan of Budup, and Albert Koli, of Aleodik clan of Budup, took the Catholic Church (Mission of the Holy Ghost Property Trust), RD Fishing Ltd, John Andreas, Secretary for Commerce, Trade and Industry, Marine Park Holdings Ltd, and the State to court in 2015 for failing to consider their rights to their land.
Madang resident National Court judge David Cannings ruled in their favour last week and ordered the State as the expropriating authority to compensate them for not considering their interest in their land as traditional landowners since 1901 when the Catholic Mission took over the land from their forefathers.
The church, through its business arm the Mission of the Holy Ghost (New Guinea) Property Trust, began transferring the land from one party to another since 1994 and did not consider the interests the landowners had in the land.
Because of that, they claimed for damages in court.
Koli, representing the five plaintiffs,  said Mori was quick to respond when he saw the media report of their victory in this paper last Friday.
He said Cannings’ order also stated that all parties including the State would have a round-table discussion on the type of compensation and come to an agreement before they returned to court and present their final demands as just compensation.
“Minister Mori will clearly understand why Judge Cannings issued that order when he sees the final judgement when it comes out,” Koli said.
Lawyer representing the plaintiffs, Gordon Pipike, of PG Lawyers, said Cannings’ order would benefit the State because now they knew who to deal with in terms of land and compensation issues and that also
paved the way for a legal basis of payment.
“The matter is still in court and we will not discuss more in the media and if the State wants to appeal we will defend it,” Pipike said.
Plaintiff Patrick Yal Kuna of Bamaya Wana clan said they did not wish in anyway to stop the PMIZ project but wanted to benefit and participate in it as genuine landowners.

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