Minister questions payments

Business

PETROLEUM and Energy Minister Kerenga Kua says there must be transparency in disbursement of landowner payments.
Kua expressed disappointment in the questionable conduct of the Department of Petroleum and Energy (DPE) staff in issuing landowner cheque payments last month.
“Clandestine acts such as these recent cheque presentations have led to numerous accusations being levelled against the department,” he said.
“It creates resentment and allows distrust to fester among landowners and ultimately the real beneficiaries in the villages end up missing out.
“Going forward, I want to see more professional and transparent conduct by DPE staff.
“From here on, I will ensure that all landowner cheque payments are done in public where beneficiaries can witness the disbursement of cheques to each clan group.
“In this way, should differences arise, it would be up to the beneficiaries themselves to sort out this matter and no fingers can be pointed to the ministry or department of petroleum.
“I wish to inform all concerned that I have tasked the secretary David Manau to cancel the previous cheques that were raised and organise the reissuing of new cheques to be paid to the individual groups that comprise the Southern Highlands province landowner clans.
“As for the Imawe Bogasi clan, their cheque will be further broken down as separate cheque payments to the nine clan groups as per the Sir Moi Avei ministerial determination of May 2003 that supercedes the previous Roy Yaki determination.
“Once these cheques are ready, I will personally visit Samberigi to present them to each of these clans.
“It is important that landowner representatives also return to their respective villages so that costs of accommodation and transport do not continue to escalate as you remain in Port Moresby.
“Charges by these service providers are alarmingly high which means monies that should be disbursed among your people at the village level end up being swallowed up in Port Moresby.
“During my term as minister for petroleum, I will do what I can to improve the process.”

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