Improper land dealings continue apace as PM Kilman gets house for just Vt 900,000

Lands Minister Steven Kalsakau’s reckless sales of urban and rural land titles proceed apace without Prime Minister Sato Kilman standing in his way. And why would Kilman stop him? The Prime Minister himself has just been given his house for less than a million vatu. The weekend Daily Post discloses the sale of lease title 11/0621/037 to Kilman for Vt 900,000, the premises allegedly being Government property since Independence. Kilman almost lost his candidacy in the last election due to his continued non-payment of lease rent on the title.

The Daily Post also draws attention to the Lands Minister’s promise to cancel the lease he had approved for Lelepa and Mangaliliu land to Kalorib Poilapa. Poilapa is acting as the front man on the transaction for Sandrino Traverso, according to inside sources. The Lelepa/Mangaliliu people had sought their own community lease over their own land but this was denied by the Minister who sold 2,300 hectares of their customary land for a pitiful Vt 2.5 million vatu. The Minister promised to rescind the lease, but then did not keep an appointment to do so with the custom owners. Presumably Kalsakau does not wish to be re-elected, judging by his willingness to estrange a large part of his rural Efate electorate.

In today’s Daily Post, land valuer Levi Tarosa, himself no stranger to controversial land dealings, points out that the only way now for the Lelepa/Mangaliliu people to get their land back is by proving fraud on the part of the Minister. The Torrens title system used here in Vanuatu gives purchasers of lease a title which is indefeasible. Thus Ministerial fraud is the only charge which can be used to overturn a lease. The present Minister is facing fraud charges of a different kind already and has been responsible for so many bargain land sales that charges of fraud will certainly be brought by the Lelepa/Mangaliliu people for a start.

Daily Post also draws attention to Lands Minister Kalsakau’s sale of the lease to Ciné Hickson for a bargain price of Vt 2.6 million. It is prime commercial land. It is also expected that the Minister will soon try to sell the Lolam House in the centre of town and again for a bargain price.

The caretaker Trade Minister Ham Lini is pledging interim government support for new Chinese investment on import and export duties.

All media have drawn attention to Maxime Carlot Korman’s new party, which is called the Vanuatu Democratic Party.

All media have also reported the adjournment of the Phocea hearings until 15 October.

The Vanua’aku Pati has announced it will be fielding 28 candidates in the national elections. These include the Attorney General Ishmael Kalsakau, contesting Port Vila, and two women candidates, Leinavao Tasso for Epi and Rosemary Antas for Malo and Aore. Former Reserve Bank governor Andrew Kausiama, will contest for VP on Tanna.