Duma denies payout claims

National, Normal

The National, Thursday 10th November 2011

PETROLEUM and Energy Minister William Duma has refuted claims that ministerial commitment payments were made secretly to selected landowner groups in Port Moresby.
Treasurer and Minister for Finance Don Polye also brushed aside the allegations of bias made by former minister for petroleum and energy Francis Potape relating to the payment of ministerial commitments to LNG project landowners last week.
Polye was reacting to an article in The National quoting Potape as claiming that K70 million in LNG project monies had been paid secretly to a selected few “who had connections with key ministers”, and done without following due process.
Polye welcomed the challenge and urged Potape to go to his (Polye’s) office at Vulupindi anytime this week so that a copy of all payments could be made available for his scrutiny.
“I assure the member for Komo-Margarima that there is nothing sinister in the manner in which the payments are being handled.
“He is most welcome to verify
this for himself.
“If he needs to know why a particular landowner has been paid or omitted, I am willing to oblige,” Polye said.
“He can then go ahead and arrange for a public forum in Southern Highlands and I, in particular, have no qualms in going up there to answer queries that may be raised by landowners regarding the payments made so far.”
Duma said payments were made according to the National Executive Council’s approved payment guidelines which would be made progressively over time.
“Progressive payments will be made over time and when money becomes available. No payments are being made in secret,” Duma said
Northwest Moran PDL 6 and chairman of Pai-Hoya Resource Owners Association Elvis Alungi had called for both ministers to name the companies.
“We want to know which group and which project under the PDL areas that you have paid.
“We signed the UBSA and LBBSA agreements together for the LNG pro­ject,” Alungi said.