Existing court order delays Hides landowners’ payment

The payment of Infrastructure Development Grants to PDL 1 and 7 Hides landowners of Hela Province has been further delayed.

This is due to an existing court order preventing the Department of Petroleum, and other concerned departments and statutory bodies, from conducting landowner identification in PDLs 1, 7, 8 and 9.

Petroleum and Energy Minister Nixon Duban confirmed today that the payments never happened as agreed on because he and the department were advised of the court order and breaching that would be in contempt of court.

Although payments were raised for this, landowners have been informed of the court order, which was taken out by a Albert Mokai in June this year.

Duban says landowners need to work together to set this court order aside before any payments can be made.

The court order has also affected the agreement to conduct landowner identification for the two licensed areas within 30 days.

Staff of DPE cannot conduct clan vetting or any activities related to landowner identification as there are chances of being slapped with contempt charges.

Duban said he has spoken to the Hela Provincial Government and other stakeholders like Mineral Resources Development Company, Kumul petroleum Limited and ExxonMobil about this.

The payment of K53 million was scheduled to take place last week Friday but was deferred to yesterday (Tuesday). But again, this never happened.

K20 million is for PDL 1 and K15 million for PDL 7.

(Hides landowners signing an MoU with the government on Aug 18 in Hela Province.)

Ruth Rungula