Group opposes Agiru’s threat

National, Normal

The National, Monday 29th April 2013

 A GROUP of landowners from Hela has condemned threats by Governor Anderson Agiru to shut down the PNG LNG project over alleged failure by the state and developer ExxonMobil to fulfill commitments under the Kokopo benefits agreement.

The group, led Albert Mokai and John Gane, said they were not happy with Agiru’s threats.

They said they did not want any disruptions to the billion-kina liquefied natural gas project because the construction phase was nearing completion and production would begin in 2014.

The landowners claimed Agiru was part and parcel of the Kokopo agreement and “should not to cry over spilt milk”.

“He was part and parcel of all the problems suffered by the landowners and other Hela people. 

“For Agiru to say that all social and economic development project commitments agreed in the umbrella benefit sharing agreement (UBSA) and license based benefit sharing agreement (LBBSA), were not fulfilled by the developer ExxonMobil and government is regrettable,” spokesman Mokai said.

He said Agiru was the governor of Southern Highlands when the agreements were signed between the landowners, state and the developer. He became Hela governor after winning the new provincial seat in the national elections last year.

Mokai added that the governor should, instead, work on reviewing the agreements and include Hela provincial government in the LBBSA agreement. 

“At this stage, Hela provincial government is a stranger to the LBBSA for Hides, Angore, Moran and Juha. This is why my team of principal landowners has filed proceedings in the National Court to sort out some of these failures and problems the landowners are facing,” Mokai said.