Supreme Court strikes out police mutiny case

The Supreme Court has struck out the mutiny case against the former chairman of the Police Service Commission and three senior police officers. It sat on 6 October to hear the bail conditions of police officer Ron Tamtam, and following this application, struck out the mutiny case. The case was between the Public Prosecutor and defendants, the former Chairman of the Commission (Tony Arthur), the Acting Police Commissioner (Arthur Caulton), Commander Southern Region (Pierre Carlot), Police Commander Maritime (John Taleo) and two other officers.

The court reconsidered certain counts under the penal code, and based on information the court had already Read the rest of this entry »

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Lands Minister Steven Kalsakau acts against interests of kastom land owners in Mangaliliu land sale

Map showing customary land area leased by Lands Minister Steven Kalsakau against the wishes of the people of Lelepa and Mangaliliu

Map showing customary land area leased by Lands Minister Steven Kalsakau against the wishes of the people of Lelepa and Mangaliliu

Lands Minister Steven Kalsakau has approved a lease over large area of the customary lands of Lelepa and Mangaliliu (Lelema) to a Mele man for 75 years, against the wishes of the customary land owners. Mangaliliu Chief Mormor said at the time of the creation of a customary lease application for their own lands,  back in May: “We want a custom land lease ourselves, over our land, to protect ourselves and our land”. The North Efate land owners now have to protect themselves from the Minister of Lands. Daily Post leads with this story today. It covers how the chiefs of North Efate wrote to the Minister requesting a halt to all further land dealings in their area after nearly two years of consultation and mapping and for six community leases to be issued so their lands could truly remain theirs in perpetuity.

Lelepa and Mangaliliu chiefs signing an agreement to protect their customary lands in May 2012

Lelepa and Mangaliliu chiefs signing an agreement to protect their customary lands in May 2012

The Land Reform Act [Cap 123] gives the Minister for Lands the power to approve leases on behalf of customary owners if the land is in dispute. However, the Lelema lands are not under dispute and are unalienated. Minister Kalsakau here is acting in breach of the Act and against the letter of the Constitution. There is speculation too that the Mele lessee is just a front man for powerful foreign business interests.

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