PNG Energy Secretary: No Hides Payments Until Court Clears Injunctions

Clarification of payment withholdings that contradicts claims by the opposition leader 

By Jeffrey Elapa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, October 14, 2016) – Petroleum and Energy Secretary, David Manau, says the State cannot pay its commitments to the landowners until court injunctions are resolved.

Mr Manau warned that it will be in direct contempt of court if the State, through its agencies, go ahead to pay Hides Gas landowners.

He said the State has agreed to pay the Hides landowners K35 million [US$10,749,000] recently through the Hides Special Purpose Authority for projects but when they were about to pay, a disgruntled group of landowner went to the court again to stop the payment.

He said the Government has not deliberately stopped or lied to the Hides Gas landowners in paying the K35 million [US$10,749,000] funds.

Mr Manau while responding to a media statement by the Opposition Leader Don Polye who claimed the state had lied to the landowners and continues to test their patience.

Mr Manau said the holdback in the payment was because of the court’s decision to restraint them from executing the payment until all matters are resolved.

He said the Prime Minister and Minister Nixon Duban are committed to the landowners will deliver once court injunctions in questions and legal issues are cleared.

Mr Polye said the Government has continued to test the patience of Gulf, Hela and Southern Highlands landowners.

Mr Polye says continuous empty promises by Prime Minister and his Finance Minister, James Marape will eventually put the country’s multi-billion kina oil and gas projects at risk.

He also said, the Prime Minister and his Ministers have promised K35 million [US$10,749,000] in outstanding commitments under the UBSA agreement to be paid to the landowners of Hides PDL 1 and 7 after the gates to the conditioning and other PNG LNG project sites were reopened gates.

Mr Polye says the Prime Minister was full of empty promises and continues to lie to the landowners.

PNG Post-Courier
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