K4.2m PAYMENT TO KOIARI LO's ILLEGAL
By Bryan Kramer
The recent payment of K4.2m to Sirinumu Development Company for the purported benefit of Koiari Landowners is unlawful and now subject of Police investigations.
Last Friday night at around 12 am a group of people from the upper Koiari area where the PNG Power Rauna Station is located forcefully took over the Station shutting it down and taking possession of the keys.
Power and water supply to the Nations Capital was disrupted holding ransom 1 million residents who live in the city.
They demanded they be paid K4.2m which they claimed was owed to them.
In April 2019, the Treasury & Finance Department paid K5 million to the landowners based on an purported agreement the funds would be used by them to carryout clan vetting exercise to establish their ILGs with the aim to sign an MOA with the State for service delivery.
In return the landowners agreed there will be no disruptions to the facilities.
The signatories drew down on K800,000 however soon after the balance of K4.2 million was recalled back to Finance at the direction of Chief Secretary Issac Lupari.
In August 2019 the same landowners occupied the Station grounds to carryout a protest over K4.2m being withdrawn.
I met with them and agreed to look into their concerns on the condition they provide an acquittal of how they spent the K800,000.
After making my own inquiries, meeting with both State Solicitor and Solicitor General I was advised the claim and payment was illegal.
Further still the acquittal report they provided suggested the funds were not being used for its intended purpose.
State Solicitor explained the station is on state land and there was no basis for claims against the State. It is also highly improper for the State to be paying K5m to landowners and ask them to carryout their own clan vetting.
The group of landowners are claiming compensation for water usage, however no one can claim water that falls from the sky and travels along a river.
More importantly any payments to landowners must be approved by the State Solicitor, endorsed by NEC and lastly lawfully appropriated for in the Budget. It appears none of these mandatory lawful processes were complied with, rending the payment illegal. The more serious issue being the criminal actions to shut down the station to force the State to pay them.
Police have now set up a team to investigate the matter and have all those involved charged as well as recover all funds paid.
Mobile Squad has been deployed to secure the Rouna Station while a separate team will deal with those responsible for shutting it down.
I ask the community leaders and those responsible to cooperate with Police by making themselves available for questioning.
Under the Marape Steven Government the days of extorting millions in tax payers money out of Waigani are over, this includes holding the Government ransom and getting away with it.
The sleeping giant called our Police Force who is tasked to enforce the law is slowly waking up from its slumber.
Picture taken in August 2019 at Rauna Station during my first meeting with the group of landowners who occupied the station.
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