By JASON GIMA WURI
EX-SERVICEMEN throughout the country will know the status of their claims from the state after the national executive council deliberates and review their petition in two weeks, The National reports.
Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare yesterday directed three of his ministers to meet and accept a petition from the ex-servicemen outside Morauta Haus, who are demanding the state to pay them their retrenchment claims and entitlements totalling K23 million.
The ex-servicemen have been fighting for their entitlements since 1989; some even ending up in the national and supreme courts.
Acting chief secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc told reporters that the prime minister had directed Labour and Industrial Relations Minister Mark Maipakai to accept the ex-servicemen’s petition.
Maipakai was joined by Attorney-General and Justice Minister Ano Pala and Correctional Services Minister Tony Aimo.
“The K23 million will be divided into the three categories: Colonial ex-servicemen – K5, 425,526.20; ex-servicemen retrenched between 1982 and 1989 (334 group – K12, 389,553.50 and 185 group – K5, 500,000).
Zurenuoc said since these payments were not contained in this year’s budget, it would take some time to make the final payments.
He said that the following were the groups that were claiming their retrenchment payments and entitlements.
They were the colonial ex-servicemen, ex-servicemen who retrenched between 1982 and 1989, ex-servicemen retrenched and discharged between 1989 and 2001 and ex-servicemen retrenched under the PNGDF downsizing reforms between 2001 and 2007.
“Colonial ex-servicemen consist of members who had served under the Australian colonial administration prior to PNG gaining
“In 1989, the Australian government transferred funds (K2.5 million as employer contributions) to the Defence Force Retirement Benefit Fund (DFRBF) board through the Department of Finance.
“Only K2.2 million was paid out through the special project headed by Lt-Col John Lytus, hence, the balance of about K300, 000 was transferred to the Finance Department and held in trust.
“An additional amount of K800, 000 was paid as employees’ contribution to the DFRBF.
“These monies were never paid to the particular group of ex-servicemen. And, they now claimed the principal sum and interests in the total sum of K57, 607,446.53,” Zurenuoc said.
He said for the ex-servicemen retrenched between 1982 and 1989, this group consisted of 1,111 ex-servicemen.
However, the main group of claimants come under the 188 group, the 334 group, the 323 (previously 494) group and 185 group respectively.
They claimed that they were not paid their various retrenchment entitlements arising from Brown J’s decision in OS No.58/89 in 1989.
The ex-servicemen discharged between 1989 and 2001 consists of the following, Daniel Tali group – 117 (Murray barracks), John Coomer group – 56 (Taurama barracks), Jerry Abraham group – 88 (Moem barracks) and Laki Kalon group – 102 (Igam barracks).