20 Sep 2012

Vanautu chiefs angry at reports Lands Minister granted a lease on their land

7:14 pm on 20 September 2012

Chiefs on Vanuatu's Lelepa Island have voiced concern over reports that the Minister of Lands has granted a 75-year lease on a large part of the land to an individual.

Earlier this year, the chiefs wrote a letter to the Minister, Steven Kalsakau, advising him to halt all individual leases on the land.

Following two years of consultation and mapping, the chiefs lodged applications for six community leases with the Department of Lands in order for the North Efate lands to remain theirs in perpetuity.

However the Daily Post reports that Mr Kalsakau has leased a large area of the Lelepa and Mangaliliu lands to a Mele man against the wishes of the custom owners.

This comes as the Minister faces criticism for breaching a government suspension on the sale of public land.

Mr Kalsakau allegedly also offered the sale of public land in the capital at discount rates to Lands Department staff.