THE Expenditure Implementation Committee (EIC) which deliberates on Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) funds for landowners is supposed to meet four times in a year.
The last time it has met was in March 2007, according to Petroleum and Energy Minister William Duma.The approval for MoA payment during this meet was made in three installments.
Following the first payment (date not revealed) the second was done last December and the third was done only recently.
Petroleum and Energy secretary Rendal Rimua said although EIC was to meet quarterly, there were no clear rules in the legislation (Oil and Gas Act) governing EIC’s meeting schedule.
“It really depends on when the applications are in place and if the documents are in order then chairman calls a meeting,” Mr Rimua said.
He added that he had no knowledge of any recent MoA payments.
EIC is chaired by the National Planning secretary and the deputy is Petroleum and Energy secretary.
Other members included representatives from Works and Transport, Treasury and Planning departments and the project developers
Mr Duma and Mr Rimua said the EIC met in Port Moresby last Friday to clarify issues relating to the forced shutdown of the Hides gas plant and to clarify issues relating to claims that some Petroleum and Energy officers travelled to Hides and paid K100,000 to landowners.
Mr Duma denied the report and said they would look into issues raised by landowners at Hides gas plant in Southern Highlands province.
“There is no factual basis and I can assure you … no one from our department travelled there to pay any money to our landowners,” he said, while also denying claims by the Opposition that some MoA payments had gone missing from trust accounts.
Mr Duma said the EIC considered project proposals, and the approved applications were then sent to the Finance Department for payment.