CoL moves to reclaim land from Asian logger

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COMMISSIONER of Lands, Alan McNeil has given a one-month notice for the resumption of land for public purposes to two owners at Ranadi, east Honiara.

Hong Jun Zhang and Malaysian logging company, Excellent Resources Management Limited held Fixed Term Estates titles over two different parcels.

Giving the notice on Monday, Mr McNeil said the land owned by Zhang is resumed for the purpose of drainage, sewerage outlet and public parkland.

He said the land owned by Excellent is resumed for purpose of biosecurity quarantine incinerator.

“The owners are given one month’s notice after which the government will take back possession of these parcels,” he said.

Honiara City Council transferred the FTE title to Excellent on 7th January with transfer costs of $800,000.

Initially, Commissioner of Land granted the FTE title to Honiara City Council on September 26, 1986.

Mcneil said for resumptions, compensation is payable for improved land.

He said there are “improvements” on this land but the question of compensation and how much has not been raised or discussed with the fixed-term estate owner yet.

Earlier, McNeil confirmed that he gave consent to the Council to sell the land, occupied by Biosecurity Division.

McNeil said he based his decision on valid documents that HCC held the Fixed Term Estate title and a minute to confirm the full Council had sanctioned the sale on October 29, 2020.

Further to that, he said a simple check was carried out to confirm whether the Council had paid the consent fee, certificate of FTE and browsed through his “black list” of parcels that are under forfeiture or resumption or before the High Court.

McNeil said the Council has satisfied all the requirements like confirmation of consent fee paid, valid certificate of FTE and it was not under the “black list” as there’s no case before the High Court, plus there was also a minute of the meeting last year.

However, two city council executives have denied the Full Executive had conducted a meeting on October 29, 2020 to sanction the sale of council land.

Charles Aiwosuga, who was deputy mayor until early this year, and another executive councillor who requested anonymity, relayed this to Island Sun last week.

This forced the City Mayor Wilson Mamae to order an investigation into the sale of the land.

He said the findings should be available next week.

Meanwhile, new information Island Sun obtained yesterday suggest councillors whose names appeared in the minute of the purported council meeting denied attending such meetings.

Council insiders told the Island Sun city clerk Rence Sore may have fabricated the minute to deceive the Commissioner of Land so that he could facilitate the transfer of the land.