Minister says no short cuts to land titles

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 23rd August, 2012

LANDS and Physical Planning Minister Benny Allan has warned that the department and ministry will not allow short cuts in acquiring land titles.
Allan told staff in Port Moresby yesterday that media publicity of such practices in the past had painted a very bad picture of the organisation.
“This practice has to stop from today.
“Anyone found to be employing shortcut tactics in performing their duties will have no place in this department.
“We have had enough bad media publicity and such bad practices and corrupt deals will not be tolerated,” said Allan, who was addressing staff yesterday morning before a briefing by the department’s executive management committee.
“What has happened in the past is gone.”
“We now have to look forward to the future and move. To do that, I need your full commitment and cooperation. We have to do things right.
“We all have to work together to make a change, and I am asking for your 101% commitment,” Allan told staff.
While on a recent tour of the department offices, the minister said he had noticed, among other things, the need to have in place a secured filing system for land titles.
“I have seen files being strewn all over the place and, when I asked for a particular title, the officer could not produce that file. That is a concern that we must all address.”
On corrupt deals and malpractices, Allan promised to have a complaints desk set up inside the department where members of the public can lodge complaints, suggestions for improvement, thoughts and reports of lands officers suspected of foul play.
Department acting secretary John Ofoi pointed out to staff and the minister that lands was one of the biggest and most difficult departments to manage.
Ofoi said one of the biggest problems they were facing was staff not doing what was right.
“Our bad attitudes and behaviour towards work have nearly brought the department to breaking point.
“It is now up to us, as lands officers, to do the right thing with our new minister and set a new vision for this department,” he said.
The Department of Lands has 340 active staff,   10 short of its full complement.
It has branches in Goroka, Kokopo
and Lae.