Locals blame chief’s death on govt

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday, May 10, 2011

THE state has come under pressure from the Hiwa-Tuguba tribes of Hides petroleum development licence (PDL) 1 to fulfil all outstanding commitments made in LNG agreements following the death of a paramount chief in Singapore.
Paramount chief Himuni Homoko, the man who tore the licence-based benefits sharing agreements paper in front of Arthur Somare, William Duma and Anderson Agiru at Para, Hides 4 PDL7, and who is from the Guane clan, died on Sunday, a day after arrival at a hospital in Singapore.
His tribesmen yesterday warned they would seek redress by stopping the PNG LNG project.
They blamed the state for Homoko’s death.
They said it was because of the long delay in handling his court proceedings in which he sought State recognition for his company.
The deceased was the deputy chairman of Hela Laitebo Development Corporation.
Fellow chiefs Kuyali Ango, Marako Pate, Kupiawi Aluya, daughter Janet Himuni and company chairman Imuni Lebo said the state “is liable for his death as it brought him to Port Moresby and left him to fight for recognition for his umbrella company”.
“He would not have died if he was still back at home,” Ango said.
“He was dumped in Port Moresby to fend for himself and fight for his rights to his own land and resources.”
They said the state must pay up all outstanding commitments made at the UBSA and LBBSA.
They said that included infrastructure development grants, seed capital and others within the week before the casket of Homoko arrived from Singapore.
“If the state cannot adhere to our request, then there will be no LNG project at Hides where late Homoko is the prime minister of land and LNG resource within Hides,” Ango said.
“If Sir Michael is recognised as chief by PNG, the late Homoko is the chief of chiefs of Tuguba  and recognised by Hela.
“If the government does not respect the chief resource owner, then it must advise ExxonMobil to pack and leave,” he warned.
Acting Prime Minister and Minister responsible for LNG matters Sam Abal could not be reached for comment.