Land dispute at Kurumbukari


SATURDAYS in Madang is no free day for the Madang Court house.
Due to piles of court cases, Saturdays are scheduled for National court proceedings under the jurisdiction of Justice David Cannings.
Court cases relating to multibillion kina Ramu Nickel Cobalt Mine seems to dominate the proceedings.
Justice Cannings is really serious to end these prolonged cases involving royalty payments, environmental damages, land ownership issues, disputing clan parties etc.
The dispute over customary land ownership rights of the mine area at Kurumbukari has taken more than 20 years, yet no genuine customary landowner clans have been identified and proven to have customary landownership right.
Royalty payments paid to individuals is a decision of the Special Lands Title Commission (SLTC) under Land User Rights Act.
This implies that the SLTC delegated to settle land dispute at Kurumbukari had never undertaken its responsibility accordingly.
Substantial evidence of genuine landowner clans were overlooked and disregarded, which is now the result of court cases piling up.
Royalties are paid using land user rights policy and when to pay royalties to actual customary landowners still remains a burning issue.
Certainly, Justice Cannings has taken a bold stand in handling these cases thus the court will eventually identify and prove genuine landowner clans of Kurumbukari mine site.

Luwi James
Newton, Madang

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