Water PNG Responds to Claims of ‘Extortion and Blackmail’ By Hon. Justin Tkatchenko, MP

by Sheila Lasibori
in News
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WE REFER to media reports of Tuesday 10th May, 2022 relating to claims of ‘extortion and blackmail’ made by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Port Moresby South Electorate Hon. Justin Tkatchenko.

As a State-owned Company, Water PNG Limited (WPNGL) is responsible for delivering safe water and sanitation services to the citizens of Papua New Guinea.

We confirm that Port Moresby South villages and settlement communities owe Water PNG a total of K2,000,227.40 in outstanding water bills up to March 2022.

This outstanding payment covers 23 villages and settlements who are recipients of the community-based water service we provide, which falls under the Community Social Obligation (CSO), where we have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the respective District Development Authorities (DDA).  

The claims by Hon. Tkatchenko relates to a formal letter dated 9th March 2022 that was addressed to the Port Moresby South DDA Chief Executive Officer, advising of the outstanding water bills for the 23 villages and settlements in the electorate.

In the letter, Water PNG did not state explicitly nor threatened to disconnect water supply to these communities. The letter was simply a reminder on the implications of water disconnection to people’s livelihood, as we requested their intervention to assist and pay some of the outstanding water bills.

As such the claims of ‘extortion and blackmail’ made by the Hon. Tkatchenko are untrue and misleading.

We have written similar letters in the past to the Moresby South DDA and the Honourable MP dated 26th September 2017 and 17th October that same year.

Water PNG has begun a ‘major water disconnection’ exercise in February 2022, but we are mindful of its (disconnection) impact on these large communities (villages and settlements), so these letters are only reminders for the respective DDAs and their local MPs to assist the communities in their electorates by intervening to pay some of these outstanding water bills.

These large communities have Water Committees and the respective DDAs have representatives in those committees.

There are 160 communities in Port Moresby that are receiving water supply service from Water PNG under the MOU arrangement. These communities owe Water PNG more than K13.6 million in unpaid water bills and outstanding payments.