PMIZ project eviction faces hiccup

National, Normal

The National – Wednesday, June 15, 2011

THE Department of Commerce and Industry is not responsible for repatriating illegal settlers from the Nukuru and Mos Damon areas which are within the Pacific Marine Industrial Zone, Port Moresby project coordinator Ori Beka says.
When contacted about allegations of foul play in payouts for loss of economic crops for the families living at the two settlements, department technical officer Jack Watai was adamant the settlers move.
“We are not responsible for their repatriation. That is something RD Tuna will do.
“We have paid them for their crop losses and have given them until June 2 to comply and move out or they will face the consequences,” Beka said.
Allegations were raised last week that settlers, included in the payment list, did not get the full amount as written on the envelopes.                       
Watai, without confirming or denying the allegations yesterday, quickly said: “Anything you want to raise has to be put to the office of the secretary and a formal response will be made.
“Right now, I am not privy to make any statements.
“Media reports are painting a bad image of the project,” he said.
Ambenob Ward 10 councillor Mathew Masbud and provincial PMIZ representative Francis Irara, who were both present during the payout some months ago, said K275,000 had been changed into notes and given in envelopes.
Beka said an internal investigation would be conducted.
RD Fishing community relations officer Leo Namun confirmed a block of land at Maiwara had been earmarked for the repatriated families but warned that only fa­milies and employees of RD “will be relocated”.
“Of the 860ha, only 216ha has been sold for the PMIZ project.
“The remaining land of portion 625 will be surveyed.
“We will have to evict illegal settlers at Maiwara, some 5km from Vidar, then move those 39 confirmed,” he said.