We’ll pay once verification made: O’Neill

National, Normal

A WORKS Department team will be travelling to Imbonggu in Southern Highlands today to do assessment and verification for payment.
Works, Transport and Public Service Minister Peter O’Neill said yesterday that a team would be travelling to Imbonggu today.
He followed through the commitment which he made last Thursday to more than 500 people when he intervened to open up the Highlands Highway after frustrated landowners blocked the 35km section in protest over compensation.
He said a team would be on the ground to identify landowners who had lost trees, houses and gardens and urged people to cooperate and furnished the report within two weeks.
“The Government will not let you down, we will pay once verification is complete,” he said.
The blockade started on Nov 26 after a purported letter from the Works secretary Joel Luma to landowners that they would be paid by that date and blocked the Highway after no payment was received.
Landowners then started cutting down trees and fell nine power pylons, removed four culvert bridges leaving Mendi without power.
Mr O’Neill told the people that the Government had approved K225 million.