11 Nov 2010

PNG AG labels Lands Department 'entirely corrupt'

6:28 pm on 11 November 2010

Papua New Guinea's Attorney General, Lawrence Kalinoe, says the Lands Department is entirely corrupt for allocating millions of hectares of land for special agricultural leases.

Mr Kalinoe says officers and certain rogue landowners are colluding and conniving with each other to sell off customary land for their own benefit and interest while the majority of landowners are left out.

The Department grants the leases to usually foreign companies to build, for example, oil palm farms, but in the past unscrupulous players have used the leases to bypass laws to cut down forests, export the logs and then vanish overnight.

Western Province now has half of PNG's allocated 4.3 million hectares of Special Purpose Agricultural and Business Leases.