K35mil in unclaimed assets

National, Normal

The National, Wednesday July 31st, 2013


AN estimated K35 million worth of assets and properties belonging to the Morobe people remain unclaimed in the province, Governor Kelly Naru says.

These are hand-downs from defunct former Morobe provincial government-owned enterprises – the Morobe Development Corporation, Morobe Food Corporation, Wawin Farms, plus the Yalu and Bewapi plantations.

“It is an estimate but it could be much higher in actual value,” Naru said during the swearing-in of a new board for Kumgie Holdings, the government’s business arm. 

“Identify and recover these assets and properties immediately,” Naru said.

The new board is chaired by Patilias Gamato, the deputy provincial administrator infrastructure.

Naru directed the board to look into the status of another K1 million investment in Mainland Holdings and see whether dividends had been remitted over the years.

“I am unsure of the history of this investment and whether dividends have been paid so please check into that,” Naru said.

Land grabbing in Morobe, especially in and around Lae city, poses risks to these assets which come with vast tracts of land, an official said. 

The concern was raised by a senior provincial government staffer who alluded to a land portion at 9-Mile owned by Bewapi Coffee that is being developed by a private citizen. 

The staffer claimed it was happening outside legal parameters and the land would be recovered along with the developments done on it.

“Consider it an early Christmas present for the people of Morobe,” he said.