22 Feb 2013

Bougainville businesses still hoping for payout of debts accrued during civil war

4:00 pm on 22 February 2013

A business leader in Buka in the autonomous Papua New Guinea province of Bougainville is demanding the national government pay out millions of kina owed to him and others since the civil war.

The Bougainville Businessman's Association's Tomas Raban says he is owed more than 100,000 US dollars for providing accommodation to personnel working for the PNG government during the conflict.

He says the debt has long been recognised by the authorities and allocations to cover it were made years ago but it has been misappropriated.

"We have been given high hopes for the last 15 years and nothing eventuated but from my sources and from my other colleague who has been seeing the finance minister of the ABG - the finance minister has instructed the finance and the administration in Bougainville to pay dues. There is three million [kina] sitting with the Commerce Department for these sort of services to be paid and I am waiting."

Tomas Raban.

Last month former members of the resistance who had provided security during the war commandeered government vehicles to force payment on outstanding debts, but Mr Raban says the business men would not take that sort of action.