Papua’s Guinea’s National Court has issued an interim restraining order stopping the planned eviction of thousands of Morata settlers on portion 2733 in the capital of Port Moresby.
MSaka Lawyers, engaged by National Capital District (NCD) Governor Powes Parkop, went to court last Friday in light of the looming eviction by First Estate Limited, a company owned by a local individual and his Chinese business partner.
Governor Parkop, a former human rights lawyer before entering politics, said the interim orders should give the settlers “some comfort”.
Clarifying his government’s stance, he reiterated that people claiming title to land and their investment partners should provide alternative solutions to the thousands of affected families who are made homeless due to eviction.
He called on title holders and their investor partners to have talks with him on how this humanitarian crisis could be addressed.
“Our people cannot be left homeless for corporate greed or just for the benefit of one title holder,” he said.
More proactive action
“Lands Department and National Land Board should ensure too that they don’t award title to individuals over land which already has thousands of people in occupation,” said Governor Parkop.
Governor Parkop has also directed the Physical Planning Division and Regulatory Department of NCDC to be more proactive in stopping illegal occupation and settlement of both state and customary land in the city.
He made the call yesterday during the first Physical Planning Board Meeting for NCD for 2022.
“Many of these issues could have been avoided had NCDC and Department of Lands cooperated to prevent or stop all illegal occupation and settlements of state and customary land in the city,” he said.
First Estate Limited will be moving a motion on NCDC standing and abuse of court process while NCDC will be moving a motion on the legality of the UDL.
Justice Kariko ordered that:
- The matter is adjourned to 2 Feb 2022 for hearing of the Plaintiff’s Notice of Motion (NOM) filed on 10/04/21 and the First Defendant’s NOM filed on 02/07/21;
- Parties shall file and serve any further affidavits for the hearing by Monday 31/01/22;
- Parties should settle and hand up to the court on the return date a chronology of all related litigation in all courts in relation to the dispute in this proceeding;
- The hearing of the motions shall not be further adjourned except for good reasons; and
- Until the return date, the First Defendant, its servants and agents including members of the police force are restrained from entering into the subject land and carry out steps to evict the residents on the land formerly known as Portion 2733, Morata, NCD.
Republished with permission.
This content originally appeared on Asia Pacific Report and was authored by APR editor.