Category Archives: Legal

Court halts Panguna signing

A COURT has issued a restraining order to stop the signing of an agreement between landowners and the Autonomous Bougainville Government regarding the reopening of the Panguna mine.
Justice Ambeng Kandakasi issued the order at the Waigani National Court following an application filed by Philip Miriori, the chairman of the Special Mining Lease Osikaiyang Landowners Incorporated (SMLOLI).
He ordered that the parties to the proposed memorandum of agreement for the redevelopment of the Panguna mine were “forthwith restrained from signing the agreement”.
“If in the event the agreement has already been signed, the parties to that agreement and any person wanting to implement it are forthwith restrained from doing so,” Kandakasi said.
The signing of the agreement would have paved the way for the Bougainville Copper Limited to start work on the mine’s reopening.
The agreement was to have been signed last Friday but was cancelled after women from the area protested.
The court also restrained Lawrence Daveona from acting as the chairman of SMLOLI. The matter will return to court on Friday.
Justice Kandakasi said the order would remain in force unless the parties to the agreement could produce evidence that they had obtained the consent of the more than 500 block holders.


Court dismisses Kramer’s review bid

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.

Public Warned On Circulation Of Old Bank Notes

THE Bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG) has strongly warned that K160 million in paper money it had designated to be destroyed had been hijacked, and some of it have found their way back to the country.
The bank said of the total amount, only K1 million has been recouped and now held in custody to be destroyed, while intense investigations are being carried out on the whereabouts of the rest.
The bank is also cautioning the public not be fooled by these old notes, which are illegal and cannot be used for business transactions.
With the national election in process and with large sums of cash in circulation, BPNG has urged members of the public to be wary and to report any sightings of these notes.
BPNG governor Loi Bakani said the demonitisation exercise had been undertaken by the Central bank to replace the paper money with the polymer or plastic notes.
Mr Bakani said the paper notes in denominations of K2, K5, K10, K20, K50 and K100 were sold to a recycling company in Europe in 2013.
They were loaded in a container for shipment to Europe but the container was hijacked.
He said the bank had yet to establish how this had happened.
“The border authority reported this was fake money that had come in from Indonesia. This is part of it. We have visited the boarder and we are also working with the banks and authorities on the Indonesian side on how best we can address this issue and get the money out of there.
“The unfortunate thing though is that some of it, mostly K20 and K100 are finding their way back into the country and people may think the polymer notes are fake money and won’t accept it. That is why awareness is vital.
“Because the paper money has been demonitised, it has no value and is not recognised as legal tender,” the governor said.
“The public is advised to check the serial numbers at the bottom of the bank notes. If you are receiving or are holding onto any of these paper notes with serial numbers that fall within the range of the serial numbers indicated, reject them outright.”
The serial numbers which will be published are as follows:
n K2, with a prefix’ of ABJ-AJS with numbers of a low 000001 and high of 003000;
n K10, with a prefix’ of AC-AY with numbers of a low 030000 and high 031000;
n K10, with a prefix’ of NBP-NES and numbers with a low 160000 and high of 173000;
n K20, with a prefix’ of BPNG with numbers with a low 0000001 and high of 3000000;
n K50, with a prefix’ of HTT-HUU with numbers with a low 080000 and a high of 090000; and
n K100, with a prefix of BPNG, with numbers of a low 0000001 and high of 6000000.
The governor said the demonitisation exercise had run for four years and those holding onto old notes had enough time to exchange them for polymer notes.
The time had lapsed and the bank would not be doing any exchanges because they are no longer legal tender.

No more Task Force Sweep team

BY: Sally Pokiton

Funding constraints over the past three years has seen Investigation body, Task Force Sweep withdraw its appeal in the Supreme Court today after a long court battle.

 A three-man Supreme Court bench this morning allowed the withdrawal of the appeal after leave was sought in the court by Sam Koim in his capacity as Chairman of the Investigation Task Force Sweep team.

This now means that the stay that was issued by the Supreme Court in February, allowing the work of the Task Force Sweep team to continue, while the Supreme Court deals with the appeal is discharged.

task force on hold

Koim asked the court this morning to allow him to withdraw the appeal which was filed challenging the decision of a Judicial Review in the National Court.

The Judicial Review on Dec 2,2016 upheld the NEC decision to disband the Task Force sweep in 2014 because the establishment of the Investigation Task Force Sweep team was as a result of an administrative NEC policy decision and the court has no jurisdiction to review an NEC decision.

Task Force Sweep has not received any funding since it was abolished on 18 June 2014 and Koim said although they maintained the office through the stay that was put in place by the courts, it was impossible for them to survive and sustain operations.

When asked by Loop PNG about the timing of the withdrawal of the appeal given nominations are on, Koim said he has no intentions to contest the elections.

“Its 24 hours before the nominations close, there’s nothing much we can do about it.

“We have made the decision to withdraw the proceeding for personal reasons, which does not include contesting the elections.

For now, the Task Force Sweep team is no longer in place until and unless the government decides.

Meanwhile retired judge, Graham Ellis is expected in the country this Friday, according to lawyer Tiffany Twivey in court today.

Retired Judge Ellis was appointed by NCE to head the new investigation body; Independent Commission Against Corruption.

It is a NEC decision and the bill for the establishment of ICAC is still before Parliament. It is yet to go for the third reading and the final vote.

Woman of many ‘firsts’ farewelled

By: Loop Author

A lady of many ‘firsts’ is what she is being referred to by family, friends, and all those who knew her and her contribution in the country’s development.

The Late Josepha Namsu Kiris (formerly Kanawi) was farewelled in Port Moresby today by all those who held her close to heart, including her former husband, Web Kanawi, in what was disappointingly a low key event for someone who had contributed a lot to the empowerment of women in the country.

Borne to a father from the East Sepik Province, who was a policeman, and Eastern Highlands mother, on 5 October 1952, the late Kiris was the first woman of many titles, who had colourful yet untold life achievements.    

She developed an early interest in Law from attending court with her father, who was a police prosecutor during her childhood.

She was among the first local women to graduate with a Law degree from the University of Papua New Guinea in 1976, a year after the country obtained Independence.

After attending Yarapos Our Lady of Mercy College from 1967 to 1970, she proceeded to UPNG where it took her six years, from 1971 to 1976, to complete her Law degree between having children.

Josepha Namsu Kiris

She worked part time with the Mining Department after graduating in 1976, where she was involved in years of negotiation work with the Bougainville and Ok Tedi mine.

In 1978, she got admitted to the bar where she did litigation work as lawyer till 1983.

She was later appointed to the post of Secretary for Land Reform Commission, a post she acted in for 13 years, from 1983 to 1996. She was the first woman to occupy that post.

From 1996 to 2007, she was the Chief Land Titles Commissioner from for 16 years, the first woman to hold that post also.

She was also the first female member to be appointed on the Land Board, where she acted as its Legal Advisor and also chaired sub-committees of the board.

At the time of her death (April 9, 2017), she was the Legal Advisor to the National Council of Women for 10 years.

She was also a technical legal advisor to Women Arise PNG, the National Haus Krai movement and actively advocated in pushing for PNG to sign the UN’s international treaty – CEDAW Convention, to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women.

Her former husband, Web Kanawi, was among those who paid tribute to her today during the service that was held at the St Joseph Catholic church.

“My dream for her though, was to see her as the first female PNG Judge on the bench. I am more than certain she was offered an appointment after her many years of hard professionally driven legal work in different legally oriented institutions; but she gracefully declined,” Kanawi said.

Kiris holds a master’s degree in Law from the Southern Cross University.

Kanawi said she retired after acquiring a great invaluable knowledge on lands titles, land management systems, customary land laws and issues – such as landowners’ rights and was a consultant in that area after leaving Government service.

Her brother and fellow lawyer, Alois Jerowai, also paid tribute to her at the funeral.

Jerowai said Kiris left behind a big mission, and will now look at other lawyers to continue her work, especially on empowering customary landowners on land registration.

“She took her knowledge with her but also left a number of written documents to assist those who will continue her work,” he added.

Amongst her national recognition for community service, she was awarded an Imperial Service Order by Buckingham Palace in early 2000. She was also actively involved in the codes of hockey and tennis in her younger years.


Picture: Former husband, Web Kanawi

Another successful Investigation Task Force Sweep case

Loop Author 

Another man who was the subject of investigations by the Investigation Task Force Sweep Team has been convicted by the Waigani National Court for misappropriating K5.3 million.

Justice Panuel Mogish today found David Kumalau Pondros guilty of dishonestly applying to his own use and the use of others K5, 317, 375.16, money belonging to the Independent state of Papua New Guinea.

waigani court house


Chairman of the Investigation Task Force Sweep Team, Sam Koim and Director of National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate Matthew Damaru were among those present in court today for the verdict.

Pondros is the Managing Director of David Consultants and Associates Ltd.

Between October 1, 2008 and October 31, 2010, he submitted a proposal for a Coconut Integration Facility project to be built in the Tol area of the Pomio District in East New Britain.

The proposal was submitted to then National Planning Minister Paul Tiensten on 30 October 2008.

It was approved and a letter was written by the Minister on April 16, 2009 advising his Secretary Joseph Lelang that funding was approved for a feasibility study to take place.

The first payment of K500, 000 was paid on 22 April 2009 for the feasibility study. On November 13, 2009 the second payment of K2.5 million was made and a further K3 million was paid on 22 June 2010.

From the sum of K6 million, the court found that only K682, 624.84 was used to purchase building materials which were left at the Rabaul Wharf.

Justice Mogish said no satisfactory explanation was given to account for the balance of K5, 317, 375.16 apart from the overwhelming evidence from state witnesses in the Tol area of Pomio that they did not see any Coconut Integrated project.

“The unavoidable conclusion must be that these monies were dishonestly applied to the use of the accused and others, and unrelated to the Pomio Integrated Coconut Project.

“I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the state has established the guilt and I find him guilty to dishonestly applying to his use and the use of others K5, 317, 375.16,” Justice Mogish added.

Pondros will return to court on May 8 where submissions will be made on his penalty sentence.

He is currently serving a jail term of five years for a different case involving the misappropriation of K400,000.

The monies were paid for the purpose of conducting feasibility studies for the construction of jetties along the cost of Ijivitari.

MV Karimina, a vessel purchased by former Ijivitari MP the late Cecil King Doruba was to service the area from these jetties.

Manus refugees not accepted by US to remain in PNG, Dutton says

Dan Conifer – ABC News 

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton says refugees on Manus Island who are not accepted by the United States will remain in Papua New Guinea.

Australia has a deal with the US to take refugees from Australia’s offshore facilities but there is no guarantee how many it will accept.

Mr Dutton said the former Labor government struck a deal for PNG to resettle people and he expected the country to fulfil the commitment.

“We’ll work with the PNG Government but some people will remain in PNG,” he told Sky News.

“We’ve been very clear with the PNG Government: that’s the nature of the agreement struck between Prime Ministers [Peter] O’Neill and [Kevin] Rudd.

“PNG itself is a signatory to the [refugee] convention and to the protocols, PNG has the responsibility to settle those people.

Manus island refugees

“We have been very clear: those people are not going to settle in our country.”

The Immigration Minister said “some 36 people or so” have already been settled in the country.

Mr Dutton also said he expected the Manus Island detention centre to close before the end of October after a court decision last year.

‘Australia ‘encouraged’ by US approach but no numbers yet’

The Immigration Minister said US Homeland Security and State Department officials were examining the cases of people on Manus and sounded hopeful many would be accepted.

US President Donald Trump labelled the agreement “dumb” and blasted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull about it earlier this year.

The Coalition has also previously said women, children and families on Nauru would be prioritised in the process.

Labor said the Government needed to further explain what would happen to refugees left in PNG.

“The Turnbull Government has put all their eggs in one basket with the US agreement and failed to secure other third-country resettlement arrangements,” Labor’s immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann said.

“The Turnbull Government needs to clarify what the Australian Government’s role will be in Manus Island once the offshore processing centre closes in October, and what support and assistance will be offered to refugees who are forced to remain in PNG.”

« Older Entries