The National, Monday 27th May 2013
CERTAIN ministers and departmental heads are aiding and abetting in misappropriation of public money meant for infrastructure by approving payments to individuals, Parliament was told last Friday.
Hela Governor Anderson Agiru said landowners were also stealing their own money by opting for cash payments when clearly the money was meant for infrastructure developments.
The governor made the remarks during grievance debate when he also informed Parliament that the 30-day notice he has given Government and ExxonMobil had expired last Thursday.
He said he had already served a Section 5 notice under the claims for and against the State Act to take the State to court for failure to fulfil contractual obligations under the umbrella benefits sharing agreement (UBSA).
Agiru said however that ExxonMobil had informed the prime minister and the governor that it would honour its commitments.
The prime minister had made some serious commitment to honour State obligations and details would be worked out in the coming weeks.
“I am happy to report to the people that a way forward has been discussed,” Agiru said yesterday.
“I am confident we will see a positive outcome.
“The good news is that funding for some of the critical infrastructure for the Hela province and Southern Highlands will be made available in 2013.
“I am confident some things will come as intended and not be paid out the back door by ministers.
“Ministers have to stop aiding and abetting in theft by approving payments to individuals.
“It is illegal for the State to pay a few landowners the public funds meant for infrastructure development to meet extravagant lifestyle, gambling habits, alcohol and to chase women with loose moral standards. This is state facilitating corruption.
“This goes for not only the LNG project but all other resource projects throughout the country.”
In Parliament, Agiru appealed to the people through their MPs to understand why he threatened to take the State and ExxonMobil to court.
“I am not asking for a toea more than is expected under agreements and commitments,” he said.
“It is as if our own government is lying to the people.”