​Hela Governor against K15m royalty payment

​Hela Governor Philip Undialu is calling on the Government not to release funds from the landowners’ Equity and Royalty Trust accounts to pay for plant site landowners.

Undialu made the call after a daily ran a story on K15 million in royalty from the PNG LNG project to be paid to the four plant site villages in Central – Boera, Porebada, Papa and Lealea.

“How on earth you will pay when the custodians of Gigira Laitebo are still waiting after 350-plus shipment?” Undialu asked.

He said the Government has failed the Hela people from day one at the signing of UBSA and LBBSA in Kokopo.

“When they took us to Kokopo in 2009 to secure our signature, it is only for the Government’s interest so that PNG LNG joint venture partners can secure multi-billion dollar loan to fund 70 percent of the total cost. Without our signatures, no bank would lend money, meaning no project.”

Governor Undialu pointed out that Section 47 of the Oil and Gas Act 1998 clearly states that full scale social mapping and landowner identification studies were prerequisites to any development forums and in this case, being the UBSA and LBBSAs.  

“Also under the LBSA clauses, State committed to fund clan vetting within few months from conclusion of LBSA in December 2009.

“Where are we now? We've sent 350-plus shipment yet nobody wants to do clan vetting. 

“Yes, there were attempts made. Yes, landowners are to be blamed for derailing clan vetting. But this is what State wanted, when it bulldozed signing of UBSA and LBSAs at the first place without adhering to the requirements of law.”

Undialu further called on MRDC Board and Management and the National Government to halt the payment as there were no appointment of boards of Gigira Gas Resources Ltd, Hides 4 Gas Resources Ltd, Juha Gas Resources Ltd and Angore Gas Resources Ltd.

“Without the Boards of those subsidiary companies, MRDC cannot release the funds.”

He added that the UBSA clauses talk about percentage split but it doesn't mean that MRDC can spend the funds.

Freddy Mou