Rabaul landowners' demands being considered in PNG
Landowners in Rabaul have submitted a petition calling for money they say is owed to them by Papua New Guinea ports and the East New Britain Development Corporation.
Landowners in Rabaul have submitted a petition calling for the payment of an undisclosed sum of money which they say is owed to them by Papua New Guinea ports and the East New Britain Development Corporation.
The Towalingan Tobebe Ratagul landowners had reportedly threatened to shutdown the Rabaul Township this week if their demands were not met.
But the newly appointed acting provincial administrator for East New Britain says he has asked the Landowners to give him 10 days to get to the bottom of the matter with a decision due by the end of next week.
Wilson Matava says the landowners are asking for a substantial amount of money but he is yet to find any legal documentary evidence to support their claims.
WILSON MATAVA: They are claiming that there are still some funds that are owing to them. Owed to them by these two companies.
KOROI HAWKINS: For what, for services? For royalties?
WM: Yea I think they are claiming some funds, like I said I just took office on Monday. I will have to verify all those issues and then I will get back to them and talk to them. We will be discussing with the landowners and I will be meeting with the two companies first. I have talked, we have discussed briefly with the PNG Ports and the PNG Ports have taken there copy to there head office and they will come back to me and they will discuss with me and I will discuss with the other company the East New Britain Development Corporation. The issue that they are raising is they are petitioning for some funds. But I don't know if there is any contract in place, if there is any royalty. Like I said I took office on Monday and as I said these are all the issues that I have to verify and then I have to get back to the people and I can come out clearly and inform regarding those issues.
KH: Right and how much money are we talking about?
WM: The value of the money like I said I have to verify what are the, is it royalties.
KH: But is there a figure they are quoting in their petition is there an amount?
WM: Right now there is a, there is a figure but I am not in the office right now at this point so that I can tell you the amount of the amount.
KH: Right can you give me a general figure like is it in the hundreds of thousands or fifty thousands or much bigger than that?
WM: Yes they are claiming that, they are claiming some substantial amount of money that they say is outstanding to them but like I say I have to verify if there is any contract or if there is any agreement in place.
KH: And what are they threatening are they threatening legal action or physical action? Reports that we got last week were that they were threatening to close down the town or just to halt something. What is it they say they will do if the demands are not met?
WM: I will. Those are threats but when I get all the facts I will personally talk to their leaders. The executive of these land groups and then after this I will be in.
KH: Have they made those threats though? Have they actually made those threats?
WM: Maybe they have made those threats to the previous administrator who was in office before me but like I said I took office on Monday.
KH: When is this 10 days period that you have asked for when does it lapse?
WM: My date is hopefully by Tuesday or Wednesday next week I should meet with the executive of this land group.
Mr Matava was just appointed to his leadership role on Monday.
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