A win for Collingwood Bay - land titles revoked

19 Jun 2014


A Papua New Guinea (PNG) court revoked two 99-year land titles awarded to Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK) of Malaysia to develop palm oil plantations on 38,350 hectares of land in Collingwood Bay, Oro province, following complaints by customary landowners.

"Since the late 1970s, PNG has tried to attract investment from foreign agro-business companies to stimulate economic growth and provide job opportunities by issuing Special Agricultural Business Leases (SABLs) to develop land concessions.

However the SABL system has recently come under fire. A Commission of Inquiry was set up in 2011 after complaints from environmental and human rights NGOs over "land grabbing" on customary lands.

"The Commission of Inquiry found widespread abuse, fraud, lack of coordination between agencies of government, failure and incompetence of government officials to ensure compliance, accountability and transparency within the SABL process from application stage to registration, processing, approval and granting of the SABL," wrote John Numapo, the Chief Commissioner, in the final report."