Ipatas: Lands ‘most corrupt’

Main Stories, National

The National, Tuesday 12th February, 2013

LANDS is the “most corrupted” government department, Enga Governor Peter Ipatas says.
And he has called for a thorough clean-up of the department during the O’Neill government’s extended grace period.
He said the people had lost confidence in the department as illegal land grabbing had be­come a norm within the de­partment through dubious deals by politicians, bureaucrats, businesses and foreigners.
“Look at the files, see how many ministers and department heads have acquired land,” he said.
“The minister has to take proactive leadership and if there is a level of corruption then we have to clean up the rot.
“Most of the land has been given away.
“Whose interest are we ser­ving?
“It is about time we take steps to restore confidence of our people in the department.”
Ipatas said leaders were re­presentatives of their people and should protect their rights instead of serving their own interests and those of their cronies.
“We know big people acquiring land but we do nothin­g.
“For example, I know some of my people from Enga are acquiring land here and there and yet we do nothing,” he said.
“We must take ownership of our land. We have to fix the lands department and clean up the mess as we might lose our identity and jeopardise the future of our children.
“We say to fight corruption so let’s prove it now rather than later.”
Ipatas called Lands Minister Benny Allan to transfer all land powers to the provinces through the provincial lands boards to present illegal land grabbing.
He said the country should own 100% of the land and enter into agreement for deve­lopment through leasing.
Northern Governor Gary Juffa added that leaders were been elected to serve the people and not to serve corporate businesses.
“What are we doing? Are we planning for our people to protect our people or protect our interests and our cronies and the big corporate giants and foreigners?” Juffa asked.