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Landlords threaten to disrupt LNG project

December 31
12:00 2008

Written By : SUN FIJI NEWSROOM. Landowner groups from Papua New Guinea’s oil rich Southern Highlands have threatened to disrupt the multi-billion kina liquefied natural gas (LNG) project if they were are paid their memorandum of agreement (MoA) funds for this year.
The landowner groups, from Moran, Hides, Kutubu and Juwa, alleged that this year’s K48 million MoA funds were not properly disbursed and many genuine recipients were missing out.
At a meeting in National Capital District, the landowner groups told The National newspaper that some politicians and their cohorts used their money to pay out people not entitled to the funds.
Petroleum retaining licence (PRL) chairman Elijah Koju said there was a real security threat to the much publicised LNG project if this issue was not resolved.
“We have nothing personally against the Minister for Petroleum but as the political head of his department, he must address our grievances, and we, the ones who are missing out on the MoA funds, must get ours,” Mr Koju said.
“We still have the final list for the beneficiaries of the MoA funds and some of those who collected their cheques last week were not entitled to it.
“Changes have been made to the final list at the eleventh hour, thus we request that the legitimate landowners be paid immediately,” Mr Koju added. Minister for Petroleum and Energy William Duma when contacted by The National, said there were differences between MoA funds and royalty payments for landowners. Mr Duma said MoA funds were tied to specific infrastructure projects such as schools, bridges, roads and hospitals while royalty payments, which were paid every year, were paid directly to landowner groups.
He added that other landowner groups who were previously paid were likely to miss out this year. -PNS

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