Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Land, resources and regulation in Papua New Guinea

By James Wanjik



LAND is very important to people of Papua New Guinea. It is a way of life. No manner of legal gymnastic can change this way of life. Land is Western people’s most prized resource. Thus they do land-banking in Papua New Guinea with licences. Now they are very exposed. No licence processed by the Mineral Resources Authority (MRA) is legally valid. I warned the government but miners were very influential. MRA was set up in breach of law. Today my warning is proven true.

No Waigani legal eagle lived life of truth. More questions were raised without legal advice. Keeping MRA guessing I started publishing truths. No lawyer provided response on my views. Today MRA is under siege. It has no way out.

Resource ownership is not a politically powerful issue. It will push MRA mad. This madness we have seen in the media propaganda of late. It pulled wool over the eyes of Waigani that it should be consulted by Members of Parliament on resource ownership. It is a politically suicidal mission. MRA will pay for its arrogance.

Landowners are redirected to MRA. They must take on MRA to be free. Saddling landowners with resource ownership issue MRA thought it would hide. Not so. Plot and plotters are exposed. MRA, its offshoot the new Department of Mineral Policy and Geological Hazards (DMPGH) and the PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum are the plotters.

PNG would have been totally powerless had I not warned the government. MRA’s plot was to destroy PNG’s national unity. It would have started with Bougainville. I made MRA to seek Autonomous Bougainville Government’s (ABG’s) consent in a 15-step Alotau Pact in March 2008. It was a political pact.

Legally MRA was already on Bougainville under the MRA Act 2005. It was there in breach of National Constitution. Under section 288 and 290 of the National Constitution the ABG was responsible for mining matters on Bougainville. MRA regretted taking me on just because I had warned Bougainville leaders.

More and more people and leaders are slowly and surely seeing MRA for what it is. It is a counterfeit. It only works for money. Money in illegal tax in illegal production levy. Parliament had been made to look totally powerless. Under section 209 of the National Constitution all government agencies and statutory authorities are required to get prior parliamentary approval of their budgets for a fiscal year. And this includes any revenue measure that might be taken or imposed in a fiscal year. The MRA has been illegally collecting illegal tax in illegal production levy indirectly in 2006 and directly in 2007, 2008 and now 2009. No leader has paid attention to this MRA rot.

The Somare – Temu government lost the plot when they took me on. They did not want truth known. They thought by removing me as Secretary for Mining would be enough to send me powerless. They were mistaken. Position, pay and privileges I lost or were denied me. My voice of conscience they could not silence. Today my voice is more true than their collective lies and deceits.

Landowners would have paid dearly if I was not the Secretary for Mining in 2006 though only for 9 months. The World Bank had in 2005 prepared host of amendments to the Mining Act 1992. Among other amendments the landowners would have paid with no review of exploration licence and licensees would have kept land away from landowners under retention licence. Also the Warden would have assessed compensation. Very disempowering proposals indeed. These proposals are still in the works. The World Bank is back in PNG. This time MRA is the keeper of World Bank money.

The new DMPGH has shown very recently that it has no mandate and cloud to lead review of the Mining Act 1992. Setting up a committee is a cover for weakness.

The truth is the new DMPGH has no legislative basis. The MRA Act 2005 is silent on its roles and functions. No contrary legal advice has been published by the DMPGH to date. It also pulls up some reasons for Waigani’s plot. They did not want me to lawyer MRA out of PNG. Only lawyer who would not do that was Nellie James. She was rewarded with Secretary for new DMPGH. Instead of “appointing” her the government saw it fitting to legally kind of pay paltry sum of “confirmation”. It was odd because Nellie James was not appointed to act in the position of Secretary for DMPGH. No such position was on offer when I was removed as Secretary for Mining.

Landowners will open up can of worms when they take on MRA. MRA will collect DMPGH and PNG Chamber of Mines and Petroleum to the showdown where landowners will win. Land is our way of life. Resources in or on land are for all people of our land. We must protect our way of life. MRA must go. Long live PNG.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you sir for this revelation.

    I fear most land owners are illiterate and will not be able to read such a revealing article.

    The few educated ones are always blinded by money - you need to go on air - you need to belong to one of the NGO bodies fighting corruption and injustice, you need to source funds from around the world, and lead the fight to restore land and its hidden resources back to the people. The truth needs to be known. PNG is one of the last few lands that still has any natural resources left and it is all going to the dogs - The MRA and the MPD are the dog keepers and handlers - they are the worst kind of traitors, of PNG.