PNG Police to probe K400 million royalty Payments from Lihir Gold Mine

 AN investigation will be launched by Papua New Guinea  police into the use and disbursement of over K400 million in royalties from the Lihir gold mine paid to the New Ireland government, says Namatanai MP Walter Schnaubelt.

Schnaubelt, who is the Forest Minister, said the investigation would determine how the money was used and on what projects undertook in the province and districts since 2007.

He said Namatanai had not received its 20 per cent royalty shares which was supposed to be remitted by the provincial government since 2007.

According to the Lihir agreement signed between the government and the mine when it started, 50 per cent of royalties would go to the New Ireland provincial government and from which 20 per cent would go to Namatai and another 20 per cent would go to Kavieng district.

A recent National Executive Council (NEC) decision had directed the mine pay the districts their royalty shares directly which had seen Namatanai already receive two payments of K1.5 million and K1.8 million, according to Schnaubelt.

The third payment was expected soon however, it was understood that the provincial government took the NEC decision to court.

Schnaubelt said the provincial government needed to account for the shares not paid since 2007.

“There are no acquittals with MRA (Mineral Resource Authority) and Finance (Department),” Schnaubelt said.

“Where have the funds gone to?

“There is also no tangible outcomes in the programmes in the provincial budget.

“There is lack of service delivery.

“The hospitals in the district are in the same condition they were 30 years ago.”

Schnaubelt said the provincial government had to explain what projects they used the funds on and the implementation in the districts. He alleged that there was a separate trust account which money from the provincial trust account has been transferred into which had two foreign consultants as signatories to the account.

The two were alleged by Schnaubelt to have been brought in as consultants who were attached to the provincial government.

He called on Governor Sir Julius Chan to put aside any indifferences and put the interest of the people first.


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