Where’s the money?

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LOs threaten to close down national project over ‘mishandled’ half-million dollars

BY SAMIE WAIKORI

AUKI

LANDOWNERS of Wairokai, where the national palm oil project is located, are threatening to close down the project.

They issued the notice to close down the project following reports that the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) has mishandled $566,000 which was meant for labourers’ wages.

A landowner, who wished to remain anonymous, told Island Sun Auki office yesterday that landowners are now ‘one-minded’ to halt the project due to government’s failure on the project.

The landowner adds that ‘discrepancies started to show right at the very beginning of the project’, and have continued to date.

“We involved in the project since it started and we knew very well who is doing what on the project.

“In a generally view, I can say the project has a dull future because luck of government’s commitment to push it according to expectation.

“We did all we can for the development of the project and we still committed because we know the project is for our good and everyone’s good.

“But with the current status of the project it seems dull and if it continue we (landowners) can decide on its future,” the person said.

The farmer adds that all along it has been the government’s rhetoric to blame landowners for posing as an impediment to development in the rurals, but for the case of Wairokai, the landowners have opened up their land and that it is the government who is proving to be a stumbling block to development.

“But in this case landowners allow their land and resource for development, it was the government that fail it responsibility to properly deliver the project,” the farmer said.

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