‘Give money to landowners’

National, Normal

Southern Highlands Governor, Anderson Agiru said yesterday that he was disgusted to see landowners’ money being negotiated and paid to people around Port Moresby.
He said in many instances these monies were stolen by people who have no right to them.
These monies are for infrastructure development in resource areas where they are needed most.
The firebrand governor said the Government Departments and agents doing the negotiating were guilty of collaboration to defraud the State and people of their rightful money when this continued in the capital city even after Mr Agiru decried the use of K180 million of memorandum of agreement (MoA) funds last year.
Since the disappearance of the K180 million in MoA funds over a few months in Port Moresby last year, Mr Agiru has taken the stand that all negotiations must be conducted in individual licence areas of the country.
He said the lost funds had not been recovered and that no allocation had been made in this year’s budget.
He said if there was a 2010 supplementary budget, restoration of MoA funds must be a priority allocation.
He said Members of Parliament from each licenced area should become involved in negotiations and for each payment to be made in those licenced areas.
Mr Agiru himself will not participate in any of these talks.
At the same time, he called upon the Department of Commerce and Industry to stop calling for public expressions of interest by companies to participate in spin-off business activities in LNG related projects.
He said most of the companies were already known to the Departments of Petroleum and Energy, to Finance, Planning and Monitoring and Treasury.
“Calling for public expression of interest will expand the scope and pave the way for unscrupulous individuals to take advantage,” Mr Agiru said.
He said the Department of Commerce should consult with the concerned departments to speed up the process of identifying companies for spin off business opportunities and the project was already in construction phase.