"We declare our first goal to be for every person to be dynamically involved in the process of freeing himself or herself from every form of domination or oppression so that each man or woman will have the opportunity to develop as a whole person in relationship with others".

- Papua New Guinea National Goals and Directive Principles

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

LNG Landowner Alleges Corruption and Non-Payment

Post Courier reports 8/11/11:

There are now more angry landowners in Southern Highlands Province.

Member for Komo Margarmima Francis Potape highlighted this after he  claimed that the real landowners were not paid last week but certain “handpicked landowners” who are friends with cabinet ministers and key people in departmental heads.

“Ministerial commitments payouts to landowners in the multi-billon kina LNG Project, must be done with transparency,” Mr Potape said.

Mr Potape called on relevant Government authorities to be transparent when it comes to the pay outs because the real landowners must benefit.

Mr Potape claimed payments totalling up to millions of kina paid last week to landowners in Port Moresby were not the real landowners.

“Those who received the payout were handpicked landowners ... the real landowners have yet to receive their payment and now there are more angry landowners in the province.

“I call on the Government and ministers responsible to come out and explain to the real landowners and tell us how this payment was done,” Mr Potape claimed.

He claimed if today’s Government was serious about fighting corruption, why were the payments done secretly in the corridors of Waigani. Attempts to call the Department of Petroleum to verify these payments last week were unsuccessful. 

Mr Potape’s outburts follows Korobe-Lake Kopiage MP John Kekeno’s early pleas.

Mr Kekeno reiterated his call for Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to immediately intervene into the manner which the K140 million would be paid out to the landowners by DEP and Finance and Treasury.

Mr Kekeno said several landowners from Hides PDL 1, Hides PDL 7, Juha and Angore gas project areas were  frustrated that they are likely to miss out on the ministerial commitments while the two government departments are only entertaining their ’political cohorts and paper landowners in the streets of Waigani’. 

Mr Kekeno, who is also a principal landowner from Hides PDL 1, called on Finance and Treasury Minister Don Polye and DPE Minister William Duma to work with MPs from the Southern Highlands and Hela Province where the bulk of the gas and hydro-carbon deposits are located in making the pay-outs. 

Mr Potape said: I support Mr Kekeno’s call and I want the Government to look into this.

“I urge the Government in future to make payments in SHP and not in Port Moresby. 

“Where is the transparency?,” he asked. “If they are fighting corruption, what have they done now? All payments must be transparent if the Government is seriously thinking about fighting corruption,” Mr Potape said.

He said when he was the DPE Minister, he made sure all payments were made in SHP.

“This is where the real landowners are,” he said. He called on Mr Polye and Mr Duma to host a public forum to explain to the landowners so that “we come out and express our views”.

Work at LNG PNG Hangs in the Balance

From NBC News 3/11/2011

Work at the P-N-G L-N-G project in the Hela region hangs in the balance, as trucking firms who supply the project site, stand down for a third day.

Some 85 trucks have been stood down in Lae and Mt Hagen, over security and related issues as Exxon Mobili, its contractors, and subcontractors count their loses.

By yesterday afternoon, Trans Wonderworld Limited, who has around 40 contracted trucks said they were still waiting for an answer from the government, further describing its monetary loses as substantial.

T-W-L had written to Belden Namah, as acting prime minister then, seeking imposition of a state of emergency, and a permanent police presence between Mt Hagen and the project site, due to lawlessness along the highway.

A taskforce comprising key government agencies and project proponents, was to have convened to look into the issue, however, it is yet to get off the ground.

T-W-L's managing director, Larry Andagali told the media yesterday, trucking companies have had it, and will continue standing down until the government responds.