BY MATTHEW VARI ( Post Courier )
THE reopened fraud and complaints unit has so far received over 200 complaints from the public regarding lands issues and allegations of corruption levelled against Lands and Physical Planning Department officers.
Lands and Physical Planning Minister Justin Tkatchenko said last Friday that he will receive a full report this week on all the complaints received so far for further deliberation.
Mr Tkatchenko said some complaints that are verbal in nature still need additional information and investigation.
Since its reactivation over a month ago, he said all those wanting to lay their complaints should ensure proper documentations are provided to the unit independent units to attend effectively to their reports.
“We have received over 200-plus complaints against lands department staff, against lands deals, against corruption within the department and processes that have happened, where people have missed out legitimately on their land,” the minister said.
“Some of the complaints need more information, more investigations: they are more verbal than actual documented. This is what I said from day one: if people want to lay complaints with the Lands Department, not happy with the land deals that have come against them, or whatever the situation may be, they must provide all documentation and evidence to prove that they have been hard done by.”
The minister said an outside independent lawyer has been engaged along with state lawyers to ensure an independent body exists. He said the body and process excludes himself as the minister.
“Most of these complaints will go through the auditing system. We want to make it an independent process, so there will be no interferences at all from those complaints that have come into the department.”
“The complaints department was closed as you know, for whatever reason, for four years.”
“So now that we have opened it, I think a lot of people are not happy with that, but that is their problem.
“We are getting on with the job and making sure that we change the perception of the department from a corrupt department to a well-organised department that will ensure it gets on with its job for the benefit of land and our people in Papua New Guinea,” Mr Tkatchenko said.