PERMANENT Secretary of the Ministry of Communication and Aviation (MCA) Mr. Moses Virivolomo says there is no such thing as threats to close Munda airport as claimed.
He said the airport belongs to the government through a goodwill gift by the fore-fathers of the current claimants and hence no one has the right to dispute or stop the airport from remaining operational.
PS was responding to phone calls to Solomon Star yesterday by some landowners in Munda who threatened to close the airport if their claims are not paid.
PShowever, said that any person who wants to disturb the operation of Munda airport will be arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned by police.
Disappointment that came from the landowners is not over the airport land, but the land at the two ends of the airport that was cleared off trees as demanded by Aviation for safety during landings and takeoffs.
He said payment to the landowners was made this week and the disappointment came when those with no Bank accounts received hard cash whilst those with bank accounts were yet to receive theirs as a result of a delay in the Ministry of Finance.
So when those waiting payments saw that some have been issued hard cash, they felt unhappy and suspected that certain landowners werefavored.
Virivolomo said that those who are yet to receive their payment are those whose money was supposed to be paid through their bank accounts via the ministry of finance.
“The payment process within the ministry of finance is such that it has to go through checks and quarries so delays are expected but rest assured that it will be paid,” the PS assured.
PS further revealed that a total of more than a million was shared amongst landowners in Munda who had no bank account, which he said has not gone down well with those who wait for their payments in their bank accounts.
In spite of the ill feelings between landowners, PS assured that the airport is legally owned by the government and it will continue to remain operational.
He urges the landowners to wait patiently whilst their payment is processed.
The PS further called on the disgruntled landowners to respect government properties and infrastructure and to refrain from taking the law into their own hands.
By AATAI JOHN LAUNGI