Roadside locals claim they were underpaid by firm

National, Normal

The National, Monday 30th January 2012

LANDOWNERS in the Jiwaka and Chimbu provinces say they have been underpaid by the Mori Resource Ltd.
Most of the landowners – living at Waghi Bruk in Jiwaka all the way to Kundiawa town – received road payment last week under the Highlands Highway Rehabilitation Programme.
They were not happy with what they received.
Landowners at Ganigle set up a roadblock on the Highlands Highway last week after alleging that they were underpaid. Quick police intervention prevented them from interfering with the travelling public.
One of the landowners, Peter Genduwa, said they could not believe what they received.
Genduwa said many of the landowners living between Waghi Bruk and Gannigle received less than K2,000.
He said the few lucky ones received K3,000. They are confused because the payments they received were supposed to be for improvements, houses or landslips.
Genduwa said what they received was not enough compared to the improvements or houses they built beside the road.
He said there were two valuation teams assessing the properties and improvements along the road. One was conducted by Ben Daguma and another by Mori Resource Ltd.
The landowners did not know whose report the payments were based on.
“We know that some of our money is still outstanding.
“And we want the contractor to come back and pay us,” he said.
Allan Kambu from Waghi Bruk said people who had bush material houses were paid less than K500.
He said few people with semi permanent houses were paid less than K3,000. He claimed that the highest paid was K5,000.
John Kagl from Koronigle village said no proper explanations were given on the procedures used to calculate the value of their properties.
The landowners in Southern Highlands have engaged a lawyer to take Mori Resources Ltd and other parties involved in the payment to court.