Numapo to chair SABL probe

National, Normal

The National – Friday, July 1, 2011

ACTING Prime Minister Sam Abal has established a commission of inquiry into the special agricultural business lease and the delayed urban development project.
The officers appointed to the commission were John Numapo as chairman, Nicholas Mirou and Alois Jerewai as commissioners, while Davis Stevens, Dr Garry Sali, Paul Tusais, Paul Paraka, Mathew Yuangu and Mayabo Peipul were appointed technical and advisory support personnel.
Abal said the commission of inquiry “is given three months to complete the task and present the report to him for presentation to parliament as required under the Commission of Inquiry Act”.
“I have given direction for the commission to commence the inquiry on July 12 and complete it at the end of September,” he said.
“I have instructed the chief secretary to facilitate the task.”
The acting prime minister said the Department of Prime Minister and NEC under the newly-created Commission of In­quiry and Investigation Board would provide all the administrative and secretariat support to the SABL commission of inquiry while the Justice Department would be called on to provide the legal expertise during the course of the inquiry.
Abal said he had appointed an independent taskforce to be chaired by another prominent Papua New Guinean, Robert Igara.
He said the task force “will manage the SABL issue in the interim while the commission of inquiry is under way”.
He said the task force “will take carriage over implementation of the findings of the Commission of Inquiry”, adding that specific recommendation of the findings “will be acted on so that positive changes now set the pace to reap the benefits in the future”.
Abal said K6 million had been allocated to fund the inquiry, of which K1 million was for the independent task force to implement findings and further inquire into the issuance of urban leases as well as bring recommendations for policy and legislative changes.
“The government is determined to see positive changes for better future. I am optimistic about the outcome of the inquiry because of the confidence in the people I have appointed on the commission,” he said.
“This inquiry will result in some positive changes and bring about tangible development in the agriculture sector and have impact on reducing the negative effects of climate change.”
He said given the controversial nature of the SABL issue and its impact on cultural ownership, rights of the people and the extent of abuse and public outcry it had attracted, the government considered it necessary to institute the inquiry.
He said the commission “will inquire into and determine if the requisite or subsequent appro­vals were lawful and duly ob­tained and further take steps and exercise all powers under all enabling legislations and report the findings to the prime minister for tabling in parliament inclu­ding the recommendations”.