The National- Friday, January 21, 2011
By SAMUEL RAITANO
THE National Court has stopped further payment of LNG funds to landowners by the government departments until proper landowner identification and other aspects surrounding pending court cases were dealt with in a mediation process on site at the project impacted areas.
Justice Ambeng Kandakasi, who made the orders on Wednesday, also ordered all banks stop any transaction of LNG funds, freeze all accounts containing LNG seed capital and MoA funds and disclose all the details of the current accounts containing LNG funds in the name of transparency.
The orders do not deny the rights of genuine landowners from getting their share of seed capital and banking them, but is to prevent further fraud and misappropriation and ensure money was given to the right people.
This followed numerous applications made to the court over issues surrounding disagreements on landownership and funds ending up in the wrong hands.
Kandakasi said there were many cases brought to court that “smelt of fraud” and all normal payouts and transactions of funds would resume as soon as a new draft of conflict management mechanism, via alternative dispute resolution, was in place by next month to address and control the progress of participation by all stakeholders in the LNG project.
This will relieve the courts from a lot of LNG-related cases.
Kandakasi referred to Post Courier’s Tuesday front page about landowners forcing the closure of LNG operations in Hides 4, and said that such events would not have arisen if proper awareness and deals were made on site where people “on the land” witnessed and agreed to terms and conditions with the state and developers.
The judge advised the landowners to start identifying their clans and traditional boundaries rather than having expatriates and outsiders do it for them.
Kandakasi called on the landowners to refrain from closing the progress of the LNG as a mechanism to enable and satisfy their grievances was being worked on by the court.