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Supreme Court stays Green Certificate issued on Aniwa

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The Supreme Court has stayed a Green Certificate issued on December 15 last year over the Sura and Lafatu custom land on Aniwa, pending resolution of an appeal over the land yet to be determined.

This is part of the interim orders issued by Judge William Kenneth Hastings following an urgent ex parte application filed by the claimants, Family Tatuna Totowa and Tousi.

The applicants have filed an appeal against a declaration made by the Imasa and Sukane Joint Nakamal Land Tribunal in 2021 to the Customary Land Management Office (CLMO) on Tanna.

In their urgent application for an interlocutory order filed last week, they claimed that the Acting National Coordinator of the CLMO, John Nalwang, as the first defendant had not acted properly to issue the certificate.

They claimed there is a high conflict of interest in relation to Nalwang’s involvement and the disputes as he is also from Aniwa.

They submitted that their lawyer requested the first defendant on December last year to cancel the Green Certificate issued over Sura custom land as an appeal is yet to be determined by CLMO, but he failed to do so.

He traveled to Aniwa early this month and handed over the Green Certificate, despite the appeal lodged by the applicants and a request from the applicants’ counsel not to issue any Green Certificate over the land. In his ruling, Judge Hastings ordered Nalwang not to issue any Green Certificate for Sura and Lafatu land on Aniwa pending resolution of the appeal.

Nalwang is also restrained from being involved in any dispute over any land on the island of Aniwa whilst in his current position.

Source: VDP

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