LAND GRAB IN PNG, HOMELESS VOLCANO VICTIMS MISS OUT, SAYS KAPUTIN

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (November 12, 1998 - Post-Courier)---Parliament was told yesterday of a racket among politicians and public servants to grab land designed for people left homeless by the 1994 Rabaul volcanic eruptions.

Rabaul MP Sir John Kaputin claimed that leaders and public servants who were living in the new capital, Kokopo, and who had other blocks of land, had applied for and won blocks of land at Kenabot Plantation Housing Scheme.

This land, he said, was meant for resettling people who lost their land titles and businesses in Rabaul. But the people were still landless, the MP said.

Sir John claimed that the distribution of land at Kenabot was slanted towards those in authority and people who already had land.

Those who lost their land titles and property in Rabaul during the 1994 volcano eruptions were still without land.

Sir John asked about the criteria used to allocate blocks of land at Kenabot and urged Lands Minister Viviso Seravo to table in Parliament a full list of all successful land applicants.

"If the scheme was initiated as an integral proponent of the overall reconstruction program and especially to assist those who have lost their homes and commercial assets in Rabaul and the surrounding villages during the 1994 eruptions, how come these people who have surrendered their titles for land in Rabaul in the hope of obtaining land through the Kenabot scheme, remain landless when some politicians and public servants who are already residents in Kokopo and (have) other blocks of land in that township have now corrupted the systems and helped themselves with two or five blocks of land from the scheme?'' he asked.

Sir John said he would not ask for an official inquiry because his previous questions about the sale of valuable government land in Rabaul had remained unanswered.

"But may I ask when can those who surrendered their titles in Rabaul be properly catered for as a matter of justice,'' he said.

Sir John asked if people at other resettlement areas would have to wait another five years for land.

Mr. Skate said the allegations were serious and urged Sir John to put the questions in writing.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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