MP in fishy land deal allegations

Main Stories, National


A POLITICIAN is alleged to have collaborated with others to have the title to Nubia plantation in the Bogia district, Madang province, transferred to himself and his associates.
According to documents from the Lands Department sighted by The National, the Nubia plantation was previously owned by the Catholic diocese of Wewak but was bought by the politician using public funds in 2005.
The politician then tried to transfer the title to his name, claiming he was acting on behalf of the landowners.
However, Lands secretary Pepi Kimas declined or objected to sign the documents because it was not legal for a Member of Parliament to have the land transferred to his name.
The matter went as far as the National Executive Council, and in 2007, the NEC directed the Lands Department in decision no 22-2007 to transfer the title of the plantation back to the legitimate landowners.
The same NEC decision also directed the department to transfer the title of the Possdem plantation back to the landowners after the displaced Manam Islanders who used the land as the care centre were resettled properly.
Documents show, however, that the minister took the matter to court naming the Lands Department as first defendant and the State as second defendant.
The politician is attempting to wrestle control of the plantation through this court action, and the matter is still pending in court.
While the issue remains unresolved, a company named Kainkain Kaikai Limited has allegedly moved onto the land with the help of certain police officers and started working on the plantation.
It is believed that the same company was awarded a contract to distribute cattle to the Momase region, using National Agriculture Development Plan (NADP) funds.
The company is alleged linked to the politician and two of his business partners.
Director and customary landowner holding power of authority over the Nubia and Possdem plantations Kukurai Luimac Johnson told The National that the landowners moved in to clear the plantation but they were arrested and charged for trespassing.
The case was later dismissed by the court.
Johnson said the politician’s actions were highly suspicious and wanted the authorities to investigate.
He called on Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare to order an investigation.
The Krau Ngem landowner group is also calling on the Lands Department to transfer the title of the Nubia and Possdem plantations back to the Krau Incorporated Land Group.