PNG watchdog says govt trying to forget SABL land grab

3:14 pm on 30 August 2018

A Papua New Guinea NGO says the government has tried to bury and forget the Special Agriculture and Business Leases land grab, which it says has caused more than five million hectares of land to be stolen from rural communities.

Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea. Photo: DOZIER Marc /

Act Now says it's has been seven years since a commission of inquiry into dozens of the leases, known as SABLs, was announced but the government has used a range of tactics to avoid taking action.

The organisation's Eddie Tanago says in that time there has been no corrective action, resignations, prosecutions, or compensation over the leases.

"Most landowners affected by the SABL land grab are still waiting for their land to be returned and the Forest Authority is still issuing logging licences in the affected areas. No public servants have been disciplined or dismissed and the companies involved have not been sanctioned. The government has done its very best to forget and bury the SABL scandal," Mr Tanago said.

He said in the seven years since the commission of inquiry was announced, only four leases have been voluntarily surrendered, one has been cancelled by the government and five were revoked by the courts.

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