Monday, February 27, 2012

LNG money dispute spills to PM’s office

Source: The National, Monday 27th Febuary 2012
By LESLIE OMARO
ANGRY landowners from Southern Highlands province’s liquefied natural project site came close to storming Morauta Haus last Friday after the government failed to pay them as promised.  
On Feb 15, Finance and Treasury Minister and Kandep MP Don Polye assured the landowners at Vulupindi Haus that they would receive their Infrastructure Development and High Impact Project grants by last Friday.
After lunch on Friday, more than 300 disgruntled landowners marched to Morauta House, which houses the Prime Minister’s Office and several government departments and blocked the main gate.
The landowners demanded to see Prime Minister Peter O’Neill so he could explain why their
payments had been delayed “again”.
The landowners from the project impacted areas including Hides, Moran, Gobe, Kutubu, Angora and Juha were made to wait outside Vulupindi Haus until lunch last Friday.
When they found out they were not getting any word from the ministers responsible, they marched to the PM’s office to demand an
immediate explanation for the delay.
Police mobile squads from the Highlands and National Capital District were on stand-by, providing security in front of the PM’s office and protecting the premises and staff from the rowdy crowd.
Kuyalo Angro, a chief from the Alo clan, said clan leaders were upset that the government had not lived up to its word again.
“The government must stop telling lies and pay us our money quickly,” Angro said.
“Don Polye told us that we would be getting paid today (last Friday).
“Where is he? Can he come out and explain why he lied?”
But at 4.50pm, an agreement was reached between the landowners and the prime minister’s office to meet and discuss the issue.
Tepele Tope, from Southeast Mananda, in Kutubu, PDL 2, said on Saturday O’Neill met with leaders Thomas Gamu, from Angorom and Tom Paul from Juha and assured them that the government would pay the landowners tomorrow.

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