PNG interfering in ABG affairs, claims Momis

The PNG Government is interfering in the Autonomous Bougainville Government’s (ABG) affairs, President John Momis claims.

The President’s comments followed remarks in Parliament by PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill yesterday that the ownership of the 17.4 percent shareholding of Bougainville Copper Ltd will be given to the landowners and people of the semi-autonomous PNG province.

"These shares are not given to the ABG, it is given to the landowners and people of Bougainville,” O’Neill said.

"I have deliberately done that so ABG does not control the shares."

O’Neill added that PNG Government will have no say in any discussion to open Panguna Mine in Bougainville.

President Momis told Radio NZ the future of Panguna was the most sensitive issue in Bougainville and claimed O'Neill's move was interference in the peace process and would not help the landowners.

"We are legitimate stakeholders," he explained.

"The Bougainville Peace Agreement empowers the people of Bougainville and that is one of the main reasons why Bougainville has been given autonomous powers, and that is to solve its own problems.”

President Momis is seeking an urgent meeting with the PNG Government.

Charles Yapumi