PNG LNG Landowners' Grievances To Be Heard By Commission

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Independent Issue Committee established to do independent assessments

By Jeffrey Elapa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Jan. 27, 2015) – The Independent Issue Committee on the PNG LNG project will be conducting hearing into landowner issues and grievances in Tari in February, Chairman Joseph Gabut said.

The Independent Issue Committee is an administrative body established by the government to do an independent assessment and hear grievances by way of submissions relating to issues in relations to the PNG LNG project and other related matters.

The body is consist of experts and former senior bueaucats led by Gabut as the chairman, and his three members and they are former secretary for the department of Foreign Affairs Gabriel Pepson, a trained economist, Nelson Yano an expreinced person in the construction and infrastructure sectors and Benias Peri, a private lawyer.

Mr Gabut said the independent issue committee is an body that would provide independent hearing and receive submissions from stakeholders in the PNG LNG project inclduing other functions such as , reviews into all payments made to landowners under the PNG LNG project, hear grievances from landowners on any LNG issues, receive sugestions and recommendations from government agencies and departments on issues or suggestions to improve procedures to help in future oil and gas projects.

He said another function of the body is to provide opportunity to developer (Exxon Mobil) to reply to allegations made against them.

He said since the establishment of the committee, several submissions in relations to landowner concerns have been received and could resume hearing from parties concern before a report is submitted to the government.

"So far, we has received submissions from Hides PDL 1 landowners as prescribed under clause 19 of theLandowner Benefit Sharing Agreement issues (LBSA) ISSUES and have already conducted hearing into the matter starting from the government department in Port Moresby.

He said the committee would travel into Tari to conduct the hearing for the landowners there and called on all landowners to be presented and present their case (submissions) before the committee.

Mr Gabut also called on resource activist and Tuguba landowner Chief Simon Ekenda to use the opportunity to also present his case during the hearing. He said the committee is a legitimate body that can help in mediation.

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