Wednesday, March 10, 2010

LNG 'landowners' protest for funds

DISGRUNTLED people, claiming to be landowners of the LNG project areas in the Southern Highlands province, fronted up yesterday at the Finance and Treasury office in Port Moresby and demanded quick payment of outstanding landowner funds, The National reports.

They printed placards stating that the operations of the multi-billion kina project would cease if their demands were not met by the Government.

The groups, claiming to be landowners of Hides, Angore, East Mananda, Juha, Moran and Kutubu threatened that the LNG project may not proceed if the Government failed to fast track the release of the funds.

They said the funds they claimed were the memorandum of agreement (MoA) funds, special segment grants (SSG) and other grants which they claimed was  promised to them by the Government.

Also, another disgruntled group gathered outside the office of the Department of Petroleum and Energy in Konedobu, demanding similar MoA and SSG payments.

Group spokesman, Adam Liyako, who claimed to be a landowner of Moran pipeline area, said the Government had promised them after the Kokopo forum last year that the payment of the funds would be made to all incorporated landowner groups (ILGs) but the Government had failed to honour its commitments to this stage.

He said the landowners had been living on hired vehicles and money in the city since last year and could not pay them off.

Mr Liyako said the fault lay with the Government to bring them to Port Moresby at the first place to attend the BSA forums and keep them waiting in vain without releasing the funds promised in them.

The spokesman said many of the landowners had passed away while waiting for the funds.

He called on the Government to fast track the payment if it wished to proceed with the project in their province.


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