Potape: LNG’s K70m paid secretly

National, Normal

The National,Tuesday 08th November 2011

KOMO-Margarima MP Francis Potape has claimed that up to K70 million of ministerial commitment has been secretly paid to selected LNG project landowner groups.
Potape yesterday challenged Treasury and Finance Minister Don Polye and Petroleum Minister William Duma to call a public forum next week to explain to the landowners the criteria used in making the payments.
He said the government had allocated K140 million for ministerial commitments that had been paid out in the city to “certain people while the rest of the landowners are in the dark”.
He urged Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to put his foot down and ensure all landowner payments were made at the project sites and not behind closed curtains in Port Moresby.
“Millions of kina have been paid to certain hand-picked landowners that have been selected by the key departments of treasury and finance and petroleum and energy without following due process,” Potape said.
“They have by-passed the expenditure implementation committee process and the Public Finances (Management) Act.”
Potape alleged that people who had connections with the key ministers were getting their money.
“What about the landowners who do not have political connections? Will they get their money?
“I, as the former petroleum minister, am challenging Polye and Duma to a public forum to publicly give names of companies that have benefited and the people behind these landowner companies.
“The O’Neill government must not be a government of convenience for a few ministers,” Potape said.