K27mil compo for damages

National, Normal

BUSINESSMAN Dadi Toka told the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the Finance Department that the Lands and Physical Planning Department had “messed” him around for 20 years by not giving him title to the piece of land at Waigani he was awarded in 1987.
Instead, the department sub-divided and then rezoned it, Mr Toka said.
That forced him to take the matter to court in 2007 for a ruling, the CoI was told on Wednesday.
He said the court awarded him K27 million in damages and that after engaging the services for seven years at high costs, he deserved to be adequately compensated.
Mr Toka, who is a director of Toka Enterprises Ltd, said that
as a local businessman and a customary landowner, he had showed interest in being involved in the business development of Waigani area.
He said he had legally filled and signed the necessary forms for the land described in the old Waigani City Centre Plan as portion 2126, Grandville Moresby, NCD.
Mr Toka told the inquiry that he was awarded the land in 1987 and this was subsequently gazetted.
However, to date, he had not been granted the title.
He said that the Lands and Physical Planning Department should be blamed for the misunderstanding surrounding this land, parts of which were occupied by two churches and the NBC radio transmission towers at North Waigani.
Mr Toka’s view was supported by his lawyer John Goava, who called for the department to be “overhauled” and improvements made to the system.
Solicitor-General Neville Devete also blamed the department for the confusion in this particular matter.
Mr Devete said lawyers from the Solicitor-General’s office had much difficulties getting “instructions” to defend the State and its agencies.
He  said the Toka Enterprises matter was one such example where many line departments made it hard to get clear-cut “instructions” to defend the State and its agencies appropriately.