Landowner demands release of K10 million

National, Normal

THE Kikori Oil Pipeline Landowners Association (KOPLA) has demanded the immediate release of the promised K10 million for its housing project from the K20 million paid to the  Kikori joint district planning and budget priority committee in April.
Kikori women representative and an executive of KOPLA Edau Gibere at a media conference last  Friday, called on Kikori MP and Labour and Industrial Relation Minister Mark Maipakai to release the K9.7 million he owed to Kerewo, Kibiri, Rumu and  Ikp people.
Mrs Gibere also wanted to know who should be the actual recipients of the Kutubu memorandum of agreement (MoA) funds.
“That is based on our understanding that the MoA funds should be spent with the people who are recipients of Kutubu equity payments.
She said  that was logical as in Southern Highlands province, only the Fasu and Foe who were landowners, were recipients for the Kutubu MoA funds.
She said this after Justice Ambeng Kandakasi last Friday refused the Kutubu Special Purpose Authority to join in with Hami Yawari’s proceedings which showed that the MoA funds and
landowner issues including social mapping were matters that should be confined to the
Mrs Gibere said the MoA funds should be paid to those affected by the Kutubu oil pipeline and not other individuals and companies.
“Funds should be paid directly to those people affected by the oil pipeline and not to other individuals or company who were claiming to be affected,” Mrs Gibere said.
She wanted to know, who Mr  Maipakai is going to pay the K9.7 million because he (Mr Maipakai) and his Kikori committee owed the four groups.
She said the KOPLA wanted to work with the MP so that development could be seen in the
Kikori district.
“A total of K220 million was approved and K20 million had been released but to the wrong people with no development taking place so far,” she said.
She disputed the contents of a full-page media advertisement taken out by Mr Maipakai listing projects undertaken from the K20 million as not true.
“The people of Kikori have not seen the River Ambulance, the Kikori Airstrip up-graded and the other developments,” Mrs Gibere said.
She said the funds approved for Kikori to Omati to Komaiyo road was built by Turama Forest Investments under the TRP and not from the K20 million released.
She said the landowners had engaged Philip Ame of Ame Lawyers to recoup the K9.7 million for the four landowner groups and claim other outstanding MoA funds.