By ABBIE COLLACO
FOUR TRIBAL groups of Kikori oil pipeline landowners have joined forces with their Member and Minister for Labour and Industrial Relations, Mark Maipakai.
This came about during a press conference at Granville Motel on Thursday arranged by the Kikori Open Member's office to clear negative speculations carried in the media.
Speaking at the press conference, Mr Maipakai said that he was proud to see respected leaders travelling to Port Moresby to give their support.
He told the four tribal leaders Alex Baiyama (Kerovo), Dipomu Segera (Kibiri), Joel Kaivare (Rumu) and Daniel Dobora (IKP- Ikobi Kasere Pera) that they were the only legitimate groups that are recognised by the Kikori Oil Pipeline Landowners Association (KOPLA) under the 1992 Kutubu Memorandum of Agreement as the genuine landowners.
He said under the Kutubu MOA, only one landowner association is recognised and that is KOPLA in which Bomsie Boviro is the chairman. The other associations are only splinters without any composition back home.
The gathering at Granville also informed and reminded all public office holders that the Kikori Oil Pipeline Landowner Association is the only legitimate body that they should deal with through the Joint District Planning and Budget Priority committee (JDPBPC) and not others as it is recognised by the Gulf Provincial Government and the National Government.
This misunderstanding led to the hijacking of the MOA funds of about K20 million by an association who has no connection with the airport landowners.
The hijack came in a way where a project proposal belonging to the Member for Kikori was allegedly tampered with by an association in collaboration with National Planning Minister and Minister for Treasury to release the K20 million which was supposed to have been given to KOPLA under the Kutubu MOA .
The same association again came into the corridors of the Kutubu oil pipeline and siphoned K18 million from the K36 million for KOPLA and left only K9 million.
The landowners, who took their Open MP to court over their funds, have and now team up with him after finding out that it not was not his doing but others.
A peace and reconciliation ceremony is currently organised in Kikori by the four tribal groups for mr Maipakai. He should be visiting the district anytime this week.