Minister of Justice and Courts Administration Matamua Vasati Pulufana stands her ground that Lands and Titles proceedings are postponed until further notice, Radio Polynesia can disclose.
In her latest correspondence dated the 28 of February, which was obtained by Radio Polynesia, the Minister said “the empowerment of the Land and Titles Court as well as the standing of its Judges, are all in doubt, due to the existence of three different versions of the Land and Titles Act 2020 which appear to have been assented to and signed by the Head of State”.
The Minister is responding to the President of the LTC, Fepuleai Atill Ropati latest letter which we reported on Monday that LTC cases now set to be heard later this month.
Fepuleai reminded the Minister the significance and vital importance of the separation of the Judicial Arm of Government and overarching binding obligations of the other arms not to intrude.
But the Minister will not budge, noting it would be “imprudent and irresponsible to hold any sittings of the Land and Titles Court pending the outcome of that enquiry”.
Matamua reminded the purpose of the Parliamentary Committee inquiry to find out which is the correct and legitimate version of the three, and given this uncertainty particularly as the three versions are markedly different.
“The Parliamentary Committee enquiring into this matter is the only means by which this uncertainty can be remedied, as only Parliament can inquire into its own proceedings, and also has the capacity to enact enabling or remedial legislation by its own motion.”
The Minister further noted that to ensure the public are not unnecessarily inconvenienced, and their Land and Titles matters are not exposed to potential challenge its important to wait to see which is the correct version of the legislation passed by Parliament in December, to be decided, which will then guide the future actions of myself, Cabinet and the Ministry.
"To act otherwise, having been made aware of the potential problem, would be dismissive of the rights of the litigants in the Land and Titles Court.
Accordingly, for the avoidance of any doubt, and to be absolutely clear, lest there be any possibility of misunderstanding) and reminded Fepulea’i her previous advice of 18 February 2022 that all cases scheduled for February and March 2022 before the Land and Titles Court will be adjourned, and she will ensure that the acting CEO and the Ministry staff act accordingly."