Samarai Murua MP Vows To Take Back LO's Land

December 03, 2019 - 825 views

The Member for Samarai Murua Isi Henry Leonard is reviving a case involving landownership of about 64 000 hectares of land on Woodlark Island now owned by a foreign company.

In 2015, three state leases on Woodlark under SABL, were forfeited and given back to the landowners.

However, in 2016 foreign owned company Carter Holdings Limited, whom the state leases were forfeited from, filed a judicial review at the Waigani National Court, questioning the legality of the process of forfeitures.

According to the MP, a trial was held in late 2018, but because of failure by lawyers from the Office of the Solicitor General to file affidavits provided by the Department of Lands as evidence, the court did not take the evidence.

As a result, Mr Isi Henry Leonard says the court only relied on evidence presented by Carter Holdings in February 2019 and ruled that the forfeitures were null and void and restored the state leases back to Carter Holdings Limited.

With the development of resources on Woodlark booming including Mining and potential harvesting of the high grade black ebony wood, the MP is very much concerned that his people will not benefit from any of these projects as most of the land these developments are taking place on are within the leases owned by the foreign company.

Mr Leonard says he’s now assembling a team to retrieve new evidence to file a judicial review to take back his people’s land.

”I want to assure the Customary Landowners of Woodlark Island as their local Member of Parliament, I will ensure that all available avenues will be explored to have their land given back to them.”


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