National Lands Commission head sworn in

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The National,Thursday June 30th, 2016

LAWYER Benedict Batata yesterday signed his contract at Government House to become the acting commissioner of the National Lands Commission.
Batata, from Central Bougainville,  had been the acting chief commissioner for the Land Titles Commission for seven years.
“After the swearing-in, I am going to be conducting my first lot of cases. This is part of the process,” he said.
“We have the same privileges and immunities as judges of the National and Supreme Court. We have been doing this role before.
“It is a legal requirement for commissioners to be appointed to conduct hearings. So it’s a task that is imposed on us by law and we cannot avoid it.
“Our decisions can be enforced. If the commissioners are conducting hearing and someone disrupts the hearing, he can be cited for contempt of court and can be imprisoned. That’s the power we have.”
Batata started his career as a legal officer with the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.
He also served as a deputy state solicitor for more than 10 years.
He went into private practice for a few years.