Papua New Guinea
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Lae land under probe

The popular recreational area outside the Lae Rugby League Oval has been fenced off by Y&C Enterprise for the construction of a service station.

It was section 67, lot 20, that was awarded to Tracy Nen on September 2nd, 2021, by the Lae National Court. However, that area covers the access road from the rugby oval to the main road.

On top of that, the Morobe provincial building board granted the leaseholders a permit to build a service station on that recreational area.

“That particular piece of land is under investigation by the Ombudsman Commission,” revealed Morobe’s provincial administrator, Max Bruten. “The investigation is afoot with respect to the court order.”

The provincial administrator said the investigation was still underway when the leaseholder leased the area to a developer.

“We were summoned by the Ombudsman Commission on Friday (July 21st). So myself and my deputy administrator, Mr Kissu Lucas, with the Chief Ombudsman, Mr Richard Pagen, and his legal counsel, we were there and he asked us what our view was and we said, ‘we have nothing much there because there is an order in place’.

“What the Ombudsman Commission said now is, all of us must respect the Ombudsman Commission’s investigations.

“Therefore, we have now agreed to have a letter – under my signature – to send to the developer and Tracy Nen to respect the decision of the Ombudsman Commission to put on hold any further development until Ombudsman Commission completes its investigations.

“This piece of land is now of public interest. And me as the administrative head, I would also like to see that we must manage our land because land in the city is now scarce.” 

With regard to concerns regarding the provincial building board, Bruten said all issues have been captured by the OC, including officers involved in the deal; from the Department of Lands in Lae, the provincial building board under chairman Kissu Lucas, the provincial administration and Lands officers in Waigani.

Bruten said the OC will do a thorough investigation to ascertain whether due process has been followed.