PAYMENT NEAR FOR CNMI LAND CLAIMS

SAIPAN, CNMI (Saipan Tribune, Dec. 31) - Landowners can receive their long overdue payments from the CNMI government soon, after Gov. Juan N. Babauta yesterday signed the Land Compensation Rules and Regulations.

The measure was sent to the Commonwealth Registrar for urgent promulgation.

The approval and publication of the regulations are required so the government can release the money to landowners.

According to MPLA Commissioner Henry Hofschneider, Babauta signed the regulations following review and approval of the guidelines by the Attorney General’s Office. The emergency promulgation makes the regulations immediately effective and lasting for 120 days.

This means the government, through the MPLA, can begin paying those with outstanding land compensation claims—upon the availability of the money.

Hofschneider said the agency now awaits the release of some loan money from Bank of Guam for this purpose. "We’re expecting the BOG to give us the go signal for the interim financing anytime now. It’s a temporary loan to compensate landowners," he said.

Based on the list provided by the Department of Public Works, MPLA would release the funds to the first batch of 120 landowners whose lands had been taken by the CNMI government for roadways or right-of-way purposes.

He said the DPW list indicated that these 120 claimants completed all the required documentations.

In the meantime, he said the Commonwealth Development Authority continues to secure the legislated $40-million fund for compensation purposes.

January 1, 2003

For additional reports from The Saipan Tribune, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Saipan Tribune.

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