Bogia MP loses land title
By PORENI UMAU
AS you read this, there is beating of garamuts in celebration in Nubia, Sisimagum, Awar, Boroi, Kayan, Botbot, Maragis, Watam, Seven, Lower Ramu, Mambuan, Malala villages and the rest of Bogia district in Madang.
Finally, justice has prevailed and the Waigani National Court dismissed a case filed by Bogia MP John Hickey in an attempt to transfer the Nubia Plantation title to himself.
The case has been ongoing since 2006 but the peoples struggle to get their land began after World War I.
Kukurai (chief) and landowner Luimack Johnson, who led the fight for his people to retain their land, said that Nubia and Pottsdam plantations were given to a German, Max Pauker (pronounced as Poika), who married the paramount chief’s daughter in the area on arrival after WWI but left when WWII broke out.
The land was later transferred to an Australian known only as Claude who held the title for less than 10 minutes and transferred the ownership to the Catholic Diocese of Wewak who held the title until 2005.
Finally the Catholic Church agreed to sell the land back to the locals and in a letter to the Madang Provincial Government Treasury on January 25, 2005 signed by three signatories from the church, the land was sold for K100,000.
The title was supposed to be transferred to the locals but in April that year, Mr Hickey, who was also chairman of the Public Accounts Committee at that time and claiming to be acting on behalf of the traditional landowners of Bogia, applied to have the land transfer to himself.