By LUKE KAMA
WORKS Minister Michael Nali has warned that the Works Department will use the law where necessary to hold landowners accountable for trying to seek attention from the government by raising false claims.
The warning was aimed at people living along the corridors of national highways and roads after the Supreme Court unanimously dismissed a compensation claim of K120 million against the department.
Justice Nicholas Kirriwom, Justice Joseph Yagi and Justice Martin Ipang dismissed an appeal by 3228 landowners living along the Chimbu section of the Highlands Highway demanding K120 million in compensation payments in relation to the removal of structures and planted improvements located within the 40m corridor last Friday.
“The high court has dismissed an appeal filed by the landowners and has also ordered the landowners to pay the State’s cost of the court proceedings,” Nali said.
“The department will now instruct its lawyers to commence recovery proceedings against each of the 3228 landowners from Simbu named in the proceedings and this must be a lesson and a warning to those who are after false claims.
“The Works Department will enforce the Protection of Infrastructure Act 2010 and other necessary laws to come down hard on people who are pursuing compensation claims because most or all of these claims seem to be false and bogus claims,” Nali said.
He said the people must understand that the State had certain rights to acquire certain portions of land when it came to serving national interest.
“The high court found out that the claims were merely based on the assessments and valuations of properties and improvements located within 40-metre of the road corridor that was not actually removed or destroyed by the contractor engaged by the department,” Nali said.
“This is one of the false claims thrown out by the court and the message is clear to all claimants to refrain from raising false claims against the State
“If you do then you must also be prepared to pay the cost of the legal proceedings that arise from legal representation and we will make sure you reimburse the State costs.”
By LUKE KAMA