Flaws highlighted in Toka land deal

National, Normal


THE 8.10 hectares of land described as portion 2126, granted to businessman Dadi Toka and his company, Toka Enterprises Limited in 1989 for commercial development, was land that was never available for that purpose, Lands secretary Pepi Kimas told the Commission of Inquiry into the Finance Department yesterday.
Mr Kimas told the CoI: “In this instance, the land was never available.”
He was referring to the allocation of the land to Toka Enterprises which led to the National Court awarding K27 million in damages to claimant Mr Toka and his business entity last year on the basis that he had suffered damages over the land title not being rightfully given to him since 1987.
Mr Kimas also said that the National Court’s orders of June 2007, ordering him and the department to issue the title on the land to Toka Enterprises Ltd could not and had not been carried out, as the description of that land portion never existed because the awarding of the entire area to Toka Enterprises had been “flawed” and that there were already other owners of some sections of that entire land, which was dubiously granted in the first place.
Mr Kimas also told the CoI that he was never made aware of the court proceedings that Mr Toka and Toka Enterprises had taken out with him as the second defendant in the proceedings.
He only came to know about it when the CoI summoned him to appear before it relating to the matter.
Just prior to Mr Kimas’ evidence to the CoI hearing yesterday, National Broadcasting Commission managing director Joseph Ealedona took the witness stand and told the hearing that much of the land allocated to the Toka Enterprises had millions of kina worth of NBC’s aerial (radio) transmission towers located on it, besides other improvements.
Mr Ealedona said the NBC Aerial Farm (towers) had been there since well before PNG gained Independence in 1975.
He added that NBC also had four or five staff houses on the land as well as a workshop.
He said to have them (NBC) relocated elsewhere would have cost the State and NBC K12 million.
But to shut them off would also mean very drastic consequences for the future of NBC.
“If we were to shut down the transmitter towers, it would have a huge repercussion. It could be a national security service threat. It would mean the entire NBC broadcast services throughout PNG would be entirely cut off,” Mr Ealedona told the CoI.
The NBC MD also was not aware of any legal proceedings taken out by Toka Enterprises regarding the land on which their towers stand, although they were also aware that another business entity, Paga No 36 Limited, had claim on the land on which their transmitter towers currently stand.
They became aware of these other claimants when another set of proceedings were served on NBC in December last year.
Two leaders from two churches (Evangelical church of Manus and church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) also appeared before the CoI hearing yesterday and said the land on which their churches had leased land were also part of the land portion that was granted to the Toka Enterprises.
All their claims were confirmed by Mr Kimas.
His verification was corroborated by additional evidence tendered to the CoI by the Lands Department’s number one urban planner and the Registrar of Land Titles.
The hearing continues today when Mr Toka, as the managing director of Toka Enterprises, will give his evidence.
The 8ha Portion 2126 land is located between Kone Tigers Club and Port Moresby Country Club along the Waigani Drive in Port Moresby and extends to where the NBC repeater towers are located close to the National Statistical Office.