PNG Gobe Oilfield Landowners to get Royalty Payment Cheques

 THE Gobe oil project royalty cheques for the under-payment for 1999 to 2003, is ready to be disbursed to the respective incorporated land groups (ILGs) or clans, a state minister says.

Papua New Guinea Petroleum and Energy Minister Kerenga Kua said in April this year, the initial disbursement of cheque payments, by the Department of Petroleum and Energy did not follow a transparent process which attracted a lot of complaints from landowners.

Kua then issued directives for the cheques to be cancelled, reprinted and to be distributed, transparently at their Gobe project site villages.

Kua’s programme for the travel to the Gobe project sites to distribute the cheque payments in front of the majority of the beneficiaries was delayed between April and May due to the Covid-19 restrictions and logistical difficulties.

The plan and programme was further delayed between June and July, due to a number of court cases at the National Court and resulting court orders restraining the minister and department from making any payments.

“For those ILGs or clans, who have no internal disputes or court injunctions and are ready to receive their payments, the precedent has been set for us to make payment directly to the ILGs or clan accounts,” Kua said.

Kua said a letter of undertaking and deed of release and indemnity would be executed between the department and the respective Gobe project ILG chairman who would assume trusteeship of the money on behalf of the ILG members.

The deeds further hold the chairman accountable to criminal prosecution for money misused outside of trust responsibilities.

“It is only fair and equitable that the presentations of the cash benefits are done in your home villages, and the majority of the beneficiaries must also scrutinise the bills and agree to what should be settled as creditor bills,” Kua said.

“In my term as Minister, I want to see all outstanding payments for landowners settled.”


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