Sunday, October 2, 2011

K12,000-land survey (would-be) rip-off

This is the compound that has been occupied by the Tembari Children's Care day care facility since 2003. Tembari is in the process of getting a land title to this property, which measures more or less 3,000sqm, so it could build a semi-permanent school building for its 100 preschoolers. - Picture by AP HERNANDEZ, Port Moresby, October 1, 2011


By ALFREDO P HERNANDEZ
A Friend of Tembari Children

JUST RECENTLY, we engaged a Papua New Guinean land surveyor to prepare a map covering the piece of property occupied by Tembari Children’s Care day care center facility at ATS Oro settlement.

He came to the center where we – I and a volunteer British expat executive -- discussed with him what we need: a land map showing the exact boundaries that enclosed more or less 3,000sqm of state land for which Tembari is applying a land title with the Lands Department.

Several days later, the fellow informed my colleague - the British guy – through email that for us to get an official land map, we have to come across with a K12,000 fee.

He said: The job would be quite messy as there is a land dispute over that property arising from some settlers’ claim of ownership.

The land surveyor had suggested that once we had decided to begin the actual land survey – which could take at least four to seven days -- we should get the police to maintain law and order at the site.

We immediately doubted his story.

As an entity, Tembari has been occupying the property in question since 2003, and the founder, Penny Sage-embo, who has maintained her home on the same piece of land for about 20 years now, has never heard of any claims over the property from the people in her area.

Meantime, in 2009, the Oro Community Association gave Tembari a clearance to develop the area as a day care facility.

Besides, after registering Tembari as a community based organization (CBO) with the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA), Penny has obtained a 99-year sub-lease over this land from the association, which has in itself a 99-year lease with the Lands Department over the entire Oro settlement.

A while after our British expat volunteer was informed of the K12,000 land surveying fee, he visited the Lands Department to follow up some documents related to Tembari’s land title application.

He did this while mulling over where to get the money to pay the surveyor.

At the Lands Department, a high-ranking officer, who my buddy has been in contact with, told him about a Papua New Guinean guy asking around his office regarding Tembari’s lot.

My buddy asked for his name.

He’s the guy whom we engaged to produce us the land title.

The Lands Department executive recalled: “The fellow has been asking around how much to charge Tembari for the land surveying job … and after talking to some technical staff involved in land titling process, he came up with K12,000,” he said.

Apparently, they are going to split the money among themselves, the Lands Department officer alleged, quoting what he learned from people who tipped him off about the would-be rip-off.

It dawned on us that this bastard has concocted a funny story about a land dispute in order to rob us of K12,000 in surveyor’s fee – money of which we have no way of producing right away.

Immediately, my colleague emailed him to say that Tembari right now is not in a position to meet his K12,000 service fee.

So, at the moment, we are scouting for another land surveying company.

Our need for a proper land title to the said property is really urgent.

The Australian High Commission in Port Moresby, one of our major donors, won’t start with our preschool building project without a proper title to the land.

Obviously, the High Com would like assurance that the school building it is going to put up is secured on the land where it will rise.

And this could only be possible if the property is titled properly.

The preschool building would cost about K100,000, whose funding would be made available on a turn-key basis.

Here, the building materials supplier – the Hardware Haus – would release the knock-down components as it received the cheque from the High Com.

Clearly, the land surveying hitch is going to upset our construction timetable, which is set before the year’s end, assuming the land title is released without delay.

We are hopeful that we could find very soon a refutable land surveyor who would charge us a reasonable fee for a trustworthy job.

Anyway, the job he is going to do is for the benefit of a charity group like Tembari, which, right now, is looking after some 200 abandoned, unfortunate and orphaned children from the settlement.

So, dear readers, if you think you know of a group that is willing to do the job for less than what that highwayman is trying to rob from Tembari, please don’t hesitate to let us know.
We badly need their services.


For feedback, please email the blogger: ahernandez@thenational.com.pg and aphernandez58@yahoo.com

1 comment:

  1. How much latest cost about preschool building?


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