PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Sept. 23) - Telikom PNG says it will not restore telecommunication services to the Eastern Highlands provincial administration until a bill of more than K30,000 is settled.

The Telikom management in the Highlands said this yesterday.

Telikom’s Highlands regional office was responding to claims yesterday by the Eastern Highlands Provincial Administration (EHPA) that EHPA was not notified before Telikom went ahead to disconnect telecommunications services three weeks ago. 

A senior Telikom official said EHPA was given a written notice on August 22, to pay the bills, and or alternatively advised to come up with an understanding with the telecommunications body to pay the bills in installments but all these options were ignored. 

"We advised in writing and faxed the letter to the Department of Eastern Highlands, and told them actions would be taken," the official said.  "We do no favors. This is business as usual and any company, individual or government body who does not pay their bills must all be dealt with in the same way."

The official said EHPA had yet to pay K35,827.01, and that "until this amount is settled or some sort of understanding is being put in place, we will not restore the telecommunications systems". 

The official also said Telikom did not see the EHPA and the office of the Governor as separate offices, but as one government system. 

"From Telikom’s point of view, they are one operation and they should not complain about past bills incurred by the previous government. 

"This should be settled in a clean way." 

An official from the Eastern Highlands provincial administration said the administrator was at a meeting and could not comment yesterday afternoon. 

September 23, 2003

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