Court dismisses Kramer’s review bid
By DEMAS TIEN
The Waigani National Court has dismissed an application by Frank Kramer to review a decision by Cabinet and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s to remove him as director and chairman of the board of Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited (KPHL).
Justice Colin Makail (pictured) dismissed Kramer’s judicial review case as it would have been an abuse of the court’s process because the matter was for private law and not pubic law to deal with, he said.
Justice Makail upheld arguments raised by Twivey Lawyers, representing the National Executive Council and the State, that the appropriate mode of proceedings to challenge the dismissal was by way of a writ of summons or originating summons.
“In my view, to commence and proceed by way of judicial review is an abuse of process of the court,” Justice Makail said.
The court found that the decision to dismiss Kramer was appropriately made by O’Neill as a KPHL trustee as required by the Kumul Petroleum Holdings Limited Authorisation Act 2015.
The reason given by the trustee to dismiss Kramer on March 28 was that he failed to fill many vacancies in the board.
Kramer denied the allegation and said he took steps to have the vacancies filled.
In his review, Kramer questioned the involvement of NEC because he said under the Act NEC had no role to play in the dismissal of a director or chairman of KPHL.
He said the trustee breached the Act and acted beyond its powers when it sought the approval of the NEC to endorse its decision to dismiss him.
The NEC and O’Neill, through their lawyers, argued that the decision to dismiss Kramer was not reviewable because it was made by the shareholder of a company incorporated under the Companies Act 1997, being KPHL.
They said the dispute regarding Kramer’s dismissal was of a private nature where judicial review and reinstatement were not applicable.