Source: PC Online
BY GORETHY KENNETH
WORKS Secretary David Wereh has warned all landowners and people vandalising state assets on the roads throughout the country that the Protection of Transport Infrastructure Act 2010 is in operation and very effective.
This is the act that saved K120 million of claims against the state on roads issues. Wereh warned that vandalism, blocking of roads and others along the Highlands Highway and other national highways will have severe penalties under this Act – some of which is up to a five-year jail term or K100,000 to K1 million fine.
Wereh said the first Kainantu case undertaken in court under this had saved K120 million in claims and that there were more cases pending.
The act deals with demands for compensation or other payment, extended responsibility for family and other persons, attempts and like offences and threat to commit an offence.
“Being an Act to provide for the protection of transport infrastructure and the land, water and air on or in which transport infrastructure is located and for related purposes, it has got severe penalties – block off public transport infrastructure assets etc,” Mr Wereh said.
“The law is already in operation. It’s the enforcement rate and the Kainantu case is the first case. We successfully obtained a restraining order using this law.”
Wereh said the government’s position is very clear on unreasonable compensation demands by opportunists living along the national highway corridors, that it would not entertain any compensation claims by people and business houses alongside major roads.
He said that his department was already acquiring and paying genuine customary land and property owners affected on all road projects sites around the country through the establish process. We will not entertain any self-valued and assessed claims.
“This is an illegal practice and will be dealt with by law,” he said. No individuals or tribe living along the highway should take their grievance to the national Highways. There is an established process to follow in pursuing grievance and claims affecting the greater public. “
He said the Transport Infrastructure assets around the country are now protected by the Transport Infrastructure protection Act 2010. All citizens living along these important infrastructure corridors are required by law not to conduct any of their self-serving activities.
Wereh said that the Kainantu court order was issued after landowners set up a roadblock at Bane which was illegal and police personnel had to clear the highway, which belonged to the public and not to any particular tribe or clan.
“We must be very considerate of many others who depend on the highways as a lifeline for service delivery and business for their daily living.
“The laws are very tough and will severely deal with anyone who want to stage illegal road blocks and vandalize road assets.”
“The message to the people is simple: Do not block public roads because they do not belong to you even if they run through your land. You are just creating problems for yourself.”