Lands duo face discipline

Normal, Papua

The National, Monday August 5th, 2013


TWO Lands and Physical Planning Department officers face disciplinary action for trying to rezone a piece of land in Northern without formal approval.

The Public Accounts Committee criticised the department last Wednesday when it heard that two of its officers were travelling to Popondetta to rezone the land (portion 341 Sangara) from agricultural to commercial without the knowledge of Secretary Romily Kila Pat. 

PAC chairman John Hickey said their action was a breach of proper processes because the Oro provincial government was not aware of the intention of the officers to rezone the land. 

Hickey directed Kila-Pat to immediately suspend the two officers until investigations were completed. 

Pat said the two would be suspended. 

Committee member and Northern Governor Gary Juffa has placed a moratorium in Popondetta for unidentified land works to stop fraudulent land deals involving Lands Department officers and individuals. 

Juffa said the land was zoned for agricultural purposes and bought by a former politician from registered holder Embogo Sawmill Ltd, with the intention to build a supermarket. 

Juffa said it was when the two officers travelled to Popondetta without approval to rezone the land for commercial purposes that he interfered.   

Kila-Pat told the committee he was not aware of the officers’ travel and the land transaction. 

He said he had directed an internal investigation into the matter.

Hickey told him: “The two officers were to travel to Popondetta for whatever reason without the knowlege of the provincial authority and you have taken no disciplinary action against them. 

“I suggest that you suspend them pending the investigation. 

“They have not taken any approval from you, you were not aware of their travel and this is not right.”