By Theckla Gunga – EMTV News, Port Moresby
All court matters over land disputes involving the multibillion kina PNG LNG project will be heard at the Tari National Court and not in Port Moresby.
Petroleum minister Fabian Pok told the resource owners in Komo, Hela province that the delay in the release of royalty payments is because of ongoing court cases in the last 10 years.
The directive to have all land dispute matters involving the PNG LNG project transferred to Tari National Court is a measure taken by the Petroleum Minister to have court matters sorted out within Hela province.
While in Komo, Minister Pok announced that the eight cases that were before the National Court in Port Moresby have been withdrawn to allow the Landowner Beneficiaries Identification process or LOBID Exercise to go ahead.
The continuous court battles against landowners in Hela have resulted in the delay of the LOBIB exercise for over 10 years and the release of outstanding equity payments.
From the equity payments, 30 per cent will be paid out in cash, 40 per cent will be for community projects and the remaining 30 per cent will be for future generation.
These funds have been accumulating since 2014 when PNG LNG started the production.