Report and picture by ZACHERY PER
OUNA Landslip committee chairman David Parak wants all media releases on outstanding claims under the Highlands Highway Rehabilitation Programme (HHRP) be channelled through the office of Simbu provincial administration.
“Unnecessary media reports psyched up landowners who forget about performing their daily chores like gardening, as they flock into Kundiawa and road sides seeking further confirmation on when the Government will pay them,” he said.
Mr Parak said they did not want anymore unnecessary media releases from any sources, saying any official information for public consumption should come from the office of Simbu provincial administrator Joe Kunda in Kundiawa.
“Proper channels of communications must be followed to disseminate any information regarding the payments of outstanding claims under the HHRP because the issue is very sensitive,” Mr Parak said during the visit of Chief Secretary to the Government Manasupe Zurenouc in Simbu last week.
The landowners referred to a report in The National last month that they would be paid K50 million early this month, raising expectations.
An executive of the landowners, Peter Kama, called for the removal of Works secretary Joel Luma as he was believed to have failed to act swiftly to process the payments.
He said Government servants had squandered K54 million in 2006 and 2007, as a result those who missed out submitted claims which now ballooned to K68.7 million, forcing the Government to engage verification teams to verify the claims.
Mr Kama said the landslip cases for Ouna, Mainini, Gera and Tinenigle were special and should be separated from the normal HHRP claims.
Likewise, Kagl Herman speaking on behalf of Tinenigle claimants from Koronigle to Nend sections of the highway want a thorough verification review as most of the people affected were left out in the current verification exercises.
Mr Zurenouc promised the claimants in Simbu they should be paid in June or July as all the necessary documentation and verifications had been completed.
He said it was public servants who were frustrating the process, adding that he would check up with Mr Luma to speed up the payment.