PNG Court halts Landowner Royalty Payments

THE National Court in Port Moresby has restrained the State from paying more than K4 million in royalties to Gobe landowners in Southern Highlands pending a case filed by an aggrieved party.
Petroleum and Energy Minister Kerenga Kua was supposed to have travelled to Sembirigi in
PNG Petroleum and Energy Minister Kua 
Southern Highlands on Thursday to make royalty payments. Early last week, Kua issued a statement saying: “Cheques for Gobe landowners are ready but I am waiting for the nine cheques for the clans of Imawe and Bogasi so that they can all be presented at the same time in full view of everyone.”
However, the court put a stop on the payments on May 14 following an application made by plaintiffs Imawe Bogasi ILG (incorporated land group) and Dr Mere Kende.
A court order obtained by The National stated that “an injunctive order is granted restraining the defendants, their agents and servants from disbursing K4,546,958.59, being the underpaid royalty from 1999 to 2003, due to the Imawe Bogasi ILG (incorporated land group) from the Department of Petroleum and Energy Gobe landowners benefit trust account, to the nine ILGs according to the ministerial determination of Sir Moi Avei dated May 8, 2003, until further orders of this court.” Department of Petroleum and Energy secretary David Manau, Finance secretary Dr Ken Ngangan, and the state are defendants in the case.

The National/ Pacific Mining Watch

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