The National, Wednesday July 31st, 2013
By SHIRLYN BELDEN
CONDUCTING government activities on State land is important to avoid landowner problems that obstruct service delivery, the Public Accounts Committee says.
Committee member and Northern Governor Gary Juffa said this during an inquiry into Telikom PNG in Port Moresby. Telikom was told to explain the unavailability of high frequency communication service in the past two years.
The inquiry panel consisted of Juffa, chairman John Hickey and New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan. Representing Telikom were chief executive officer Charles Litau and three senior officials. Officers representing the Auditor-General also attended.
Litau told the committee that the high frequency communication facility had been out of service because of landowner issues that arose when the transmitter was relocated from State land in the National Capital District to Boera village, outside Port Moresby, two years ago.
The committee said the non-availability of service over two years had greatly affected citizens.
Juffa told the Telikom officials that they should have considered landowner problems before engaging customary land.
“Why Boera when there is an availability of State land to do this business,” he asked.
“Using State land is better than working on customary lands where landowner issues are faced and projects are stalled. That was a poor decision made and it has cost the country, the people and clients. Two years of stalled services is a terrible performance by Telikom.”
Litau said the decision to relocate to Boera was made because the area was quiet and free from vehicle emissions.