Commissioner to resume controversial Kukum site
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN
LANDS Commissioner Alan McNeil on Tuesday assured the public he is in the process of resuming part of the Kukum back road that was controversially given away in 2009 to a private developer.
A previous commissioner allocated the site to a Chinese businessman.
There was public furore yesterday when workers of the businessman moved in and sealed off the access road between the Hatanga yard and Kukum SDA primary school.
But the roadblock was shortly removed after officers from the Honiara City Council and the Ministry of Infrastructure Development stepped in and issued a “stop work” notice to the workers.
On social media, there was widespread anger.
McNeil quickly moved in to explain the situation:
“A fixed-term estate was registered over this road in 2009.
“In 2017 the former Commissioner of Lands sought the Land Board’s approval to resume this land back for public purposes and the board agreed for this to be done.
“A notice of resumption was sent to the fixed term estate owner although he denies receiving it.
“Nothing further was done at that time to seek to cancel the fixed term estate.
“More recently, I have been following up with the Registrar of Titles office on several previous resumptions including this one.
“I discovered just last month that the reason this particular fixed term estate had not been cancelled was that there is a bank charge over the estate and the bank had never been informed.
“We are now preparing a new notice of resumption to be sent to the fixed term estate owner as well as the bank so that we follow the process properly to resume this land to remain as a public road.”
Director of Civil Engineering in the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MID) Mike Qaqara said the ministry’s plan to upgrade that stretch of road from Kukum SDA primary school to Baha’i still stands.
He said while they were devising the plan, they realised that the piece of land including the road between the Hatanga yard and Kukum SDA school was given away to a Chinese developer.
Qaqara said in order for them to implement the plan, the Commissioner of Lands must resume the site.
Honiara City Clerk Rence Sore said the Planning and Development Board at its meeting on Monday rejected the application by the developer to develop the site.
“The piece of land was said to be allocated to the developer by a previous Commissioner of Lands,” Sore said.
He added instructions were issued to his officers to enforce Monday’s decisions of the Board.