Lands uncertain of landowners

Papua

The Department of Lands and Physical Planning is yet to approve the title to Gemo Island after receiving an expression of interest from a developer, according to acting secretary Tiri Wanga.
Wanga told The National that the department had received an application from an investor on fish farming but there was uncertainty on the ownership of the land.
He denied claims that Gemo Island off the coast of Porebada village in Central, which was once the leprosy control centre, had been sold to an investor.
“We have not given them the title because of the uncertainty of the ownership of that land. We do not know if it’s a State land or a customary land,” Wanga said.
“Before we give out any leases or process any claims, we need to establish who owes the land.”
He said a leprosy control centre was established on the island a long time ago and they thought that the land had been sold.
Wanga said it could be customary land but the colonial administration, for the sake of separating the lepers from the general public, might have acquired the land and built the hospital there.
“That’s what we want to establish the ownership of the land before we can process the title,” he said.

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