SEVERAL landowners from the newly created Hela province apparently walked off with millions of kina held in petroleum MoA Trust Account.
A landowner group from Hela held Oil Search Ltd to ransom and walked away with almost K2 million.
While reporting on the recent siphoning of MoA funds and the Hides plant closure, the media and landowners have intentionally or unintentionally used “Southern Highlands province”.
This is misleading and the landowners should have known better than to smear the good name of Southern Highlands.
We are now back to the pre-Agiru regime where millions of MoA funds intended for major infrastructure projects were stolen and abused by paper landowner companies and individuals.
When Anderson Agiru came to power in 2007, he worked tirelessly to ensure MoA funds are put to good use.
He got the NEC to endorse the legal and administrative guidelines to access the funds.
The funds can now only be accessed through the Southern Highlands provincial government’s planning and budgetary process, thus showing accountability and transparency.
As a result, impact projects mushroomed in the province last year and the people could see development taking place.
However, these high hopes are now on the downward spiral.
The same old hands and habits are at work again coming through the backdoor, using corrupt deals and schemes aided by State servants and agents with the Expenditure Implementation Committee (EIC) being used as the rubber stamp.
The EIC has been diagnosed as the root cause of corruption and it must be done away with.
This is a wake-up call for the Somare-Temu Government that Hela landowners have the potential to make or break the LNG project.
I urge the Government to take heed of this possibility.