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DCCG buries land reform agenda


THE Democratic Coalition for Change (DCC) Government has driven the final nail on the coffin of its land reform agenda by sacking its remaining land reform consultant, Eddie Kofana.

Mr Kofana’s removal was announced by the Special Secretary to the Prime Minister and former Attorney General Chambers’ lawyer, John Muria jnr last week.

Mr Kofana was one of three consultants who became victims of the government’s latest purge in the name of cost savings.

The other two included controversial Anglican priest Fr John Patterson Ngaliesi, who headed peace and reconciliation efforts within the Ministry of Peace and Reconciliation.

He was responsible for negotiating claims by ex-militants for additional payments allegedly promised them by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Payments of $50,000 each were disbursed last December as Mr Sogavare came under intense pressure to address claims by ex-militants from both Malaita and Guadalcanal Provinces.

In an interview with Island Sun on the weekend, Mr Kofana confirmed he was terminated from his post last week.

His termination has effectively buried the government’s land reform agenda, once regarded by the ruling Coalition as its flagship policy.

Mr Kofana once worked with distinguished lawyer, the later Andrew Nori, in putting together a comprehensive report to the Government in aligning customary land recording with other reforms addressing alienated land.

The intention is to ensure clear policy on development when it comes to dealing with ownership of customary and alienated land.

Mr Kofana was responsible for customary land recording while the Ministry of Lands, Survey and Housing is put in charge of coordinating alienated land reforms.

The Ministry is renting an office in the Town Ground Plaza for this work.

“I saw it coming when Hon Andrew Maneporaa was removed as Minister of Lands, Housing and Survey,” Mr Kofana told Island Sun on the weekend.

“This was followed by removing $13 million in land reform funding last year to the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey,” he said.

“I was left with nothing to do my work. It was a slow and premeditated death of the land reform agenda executed in the name of cost savings,” the University of the South Pacific graduate said.

“Sadly, it is the people who will suffer because nothing will happen to land reforms from hereon. My sacking is the final nail driven by the DCC Government on the coffin of land reforms in Solomon Islands.

“From here on the government no longer has a policy on land reforms. Yes, they will maintain the land reform office in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey but that amounts to nothing more than a smokescreen and window dressing.”

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