ESP landowners say MP hijacked project

National, Normal

The National, Friday, April 29, 2011

LANDOWNERS of the proposed billion kina Nungwaia Bongos large scale integrated agriculture project, in East Sepik, are blaming their national politicians for “hijacking the project away from the people”.
The landowners described Maprik MP Gabriel Kapris and his friends’ investment drive in the Wosera-Gawi and Ambunti-Dreikikir constituencies as a ploy.
They said the Wama Gaian Development Corporation Ltd was the sole landowner company authorised by the landowners from the 204 ILGs in the concession area and they did not want to be represented by “politicians or their cronies”.
In a statement signed by 12 clan leaders, the landowners said they did not recognise any other landowner company.
They said all other companies had been created to serve the interests of politicians.
Landowner company chairman Benjamin Damgeh said the minister collaborated with SPZ Enterprise (PNG) Ltd and squandered over K12.5 million of state finances that was for the Nungwaia Bongos large scale agriculture development programme.
He claimed there was no tangible development from that expenditure except for a few Landcruisers running around Wewak.
He called on the government to investigate this syndicate.
“The tycoon investor who flew into East Sepik last month will literally have no land to invest in and develop,” they said.
“This is a mockery, the specified land does not exist as this is the subject of an MoA in place and an issue for which a judicial review has been sought for the declaration of demarcation of project boundaries,” the landowner statement said.
He said Prime Minister and regional member Sir Michael Somare had urged zero political interference on the proposed projects during the East Sepik provincial assembly meeting last August.