PM moves to recoup K15m

Main Stories, National

The National, Monday 27th May 2013


THE commissioners of the special agriculture business leases (SABL) have been gi­ven an ultimatum of 30 days to produce the final report or refund the money approved for the inquiry to the State.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told Parliament last Friday that if the 30 days expired without a suitable response, the commissioners would be referred to the appropriate authorities to recover the money and fees paid to them.

The inquiry was allocated K15 million to complete the task which was to inquire into the granting of customary land under SABL throughout the country.

The three commissioners are former chief magistrate John Numapo and senior lawyers Alois Jerewai and Nicholas Mirou.

Parliament was told that it took one and half years to just come up with a draft report with only three terms of references out of the 16.

The prime minister said the commissioners, who are prominent lawyers in the country, had abused the trust and confidence the government and the country placed in them when they were commissioned.

The commissioners were earlier given an extended time for them to complete the report after a preliminary one was submitted which the prime minister found wanting.

O’Neill said a substantial amount of money was were paid to the commissioners and their team and the result was not impressive.

He said the commissioners produced poor work and were given extra time to complete the report but the team did not make any attempt to complete it, forcing the government through advice from Chief Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc and Attorney-General Kerenga Kua to give a 30-day notice as of last week.

Kua told Parliament earlier that the performance of the three senior lawyers who were commissioned to carry out an inquiry were far below the standards required of lawyers.