By JACOB POK
A SENIOR government official was yesterday arrested and charged in connection with a K3 million land deal, The National reports.
Police confirmed that Acting Lands secretary Romily Kila-Pat, 43, of Hula village, Central, was brought to the Boroko police station yesterday afternoon.
Police alleged that he had used his position to extort a land title worth more than K3 million.
The police report said between Jan 20 and Jan 24 this year, Kila-Pat, while using his position as the secretary of lands, conspired with others and issued land titles intended for TST 4-Mile, to another person.
Kila-Pat allegedly signed the land titles and issued them to Eleana Tjandranegara, a PNG citizen of Indonesian origin.
Tjandranegara was recently charged with stealing and conspiracy to defraud and is out on a K1,500 bail.
The subject property is described as section 387, allotment 19, Hohola.
The land was originally registered as PATU 27 Ltd by TST 4-Mile, the mother company, when it obtained lease for the land in early 2001.
TST 4-Mile engaged a consultant to change the title of PATU 27 Ltd into its name (TST 4-Mile) and also apply to sub-divide the land into two allotments, allotment 22 and 23.
The consultant submitted an application to the PNG Lands Board which was approved by the NCD Physical Planning.
The Department of Lands and Physical Planning notified the consultant that the application was successful and was gazetted last Dec 20.
An agreement was reached and K24,116 was paid as annual rental by TST to the Department of Lands and Physical Planning.
But, before the land title was issued to TST, it was alleged that Kila-Pat and other senior officials conspired with Tjandranegara and issued the title of the same property to her.
Kila-Pat was released on a K1,000 bail yesterday evening.
He was issued a strict bail condition not to interfere with state witness, especially employees of Lands Department.
He was also warned against accessing any files in the department while police finalised their investigations.
Police expect to make more arrests in connection with this particular land transaction.