THE 14 Fijian men, who were allegedly employed as mercenaries at Simberi gold mine in New Ireland, are expected to be repatriated this week PAC news reports.
Two officials from the Fiji High Commission met the men at the Port Moresby International Airport upon their arrival on Wednesday from the Simberi mines in New Ireland, to check on their welfare.
Fiji's High Commissioner to Papua New Guinea, Niumaia Tabunakawai said the group was in good health.
The group was alleged to have breached immigration laws when they accepted employment for the mining company.
"This morning (Wednesday) two officers went to meet the group when they arrived from New Ireland," Mr Tabunakawai said.
"They have been taken in by Police and the Immigration Department is working on their repatriation on the next available flight to Fiji," he added.
The group is believed to be on a flight home this morning.
"They are doing well and we will let the law take its course (regarding the allegations)," Mr Tabunakawai said.
Immigration officials discovered that the men did not have work visas and cannot remain and work at the mine. Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister, Sam Abal said the Fijians entered the country on business visas. He said they had been engaged and carrying out work at the mine, but do not have work visas. "They have flouted their visa," he said.
Mr Abal expressed concern about the conduct of the mining company and the manner in which it recruited the Fijians.
"Companies must respect and honour the laws of this country.
"They must learn to live and deal with our people within the laws and accept our customs.
"Legitimate concerns raised by the people about the way they conduct business must be addressed through the proper process, not using heavy handed and intimidating tactics," he said.
Mr Abal described the visa breach as a serious matter that is being handled well by officials in his and other relevant government departments.
However, Allied Gold developer of the Simberi mine has rejected allegations in recent press reports relating to the hiring of Fijian mercenaries at the Simberi gold project.The firm says these allegations are totally misinformed.It says that while the company has engaged certain contractors/employees to assist it with security, none of these contractors/employees are mercenaries and all employees and consultants are engaged under official PNG Government issued legal visas.
The company's wholly-owned subsidiary, Simberi Gold Company, is authorized and has operated and continues to operate within the terms and conditions of its operating permits in PNG.The company says it has a policy of positively engaging with the various PNG Government departments and ministers to ensure they receive the accurate and factual information that they require.