SHP landowners push Government to release special grants, MoA funds

National, Normal


SOUTHERN Highlands Kutubu landowner Roy Basix has demanded the release of the Special Sector Grants (SSG) and the memorandum of agreement (MoA) funds before the end of this week or face a shut out of the LNG project in the province.
“The Government told landowners to sign the Kokopo umbrella agreement in return for up to K120 million for us to participate in the LNG project and also to support the gas agreement in Kutubu,” he said.
Mr Basix issued the deadline for the release of SSG and MoA funds after two notable landowners, Fasu Group chairman James Puaru and Foe Group chairman Paul Herebo, died in Port Moresby while waiting for the outstanding funds.
“The landowners came here to get their funds. In the last 18 months, many have died,” he said.
Mr Basix said the late Mr Puaru died and was repatriated last week to the province while the late Mr Herebo’s remains were still at the funeral home waiting for the funds to be released that it could be flown home.
“We are calling on the National Government to release the outstanding MoA funds and the SSG without any further delay. It is going to cause more problems because our people want to take the law into their own hands but we are controlling them from here,” Mr Basix said.
“We don’t blame the developers because the Government had given the green light. We will give you this week to provide the outstanding funding and if nothing happens, landowners are prepared to die.
“So when they are prepared to die then let’s forget about the gas project and don’t even bring the gas pipeline,” Mr Basix said.
“There is fighting up in Moran, Gobe and Hides and people are dying and suffering in the Southern Highlands and even in Moresby where the landowners that have come down have being neglected by the Government.
“The Government’s ignorance is slowing the process,” he said in the presence of former Southern Highlands governor Hami Yawari yesterday.