Court halts transfer of Telikom assets

A restraining order has been taken out by the PNG Communication Workers Union against Telikom PNG transferring all its assets to PNG Dataco Ltd.

The PNG Communication Workers Union succeeded in taking a restraining order on Monday from the Waigani National Court, against Telikom CEO Michael Donnelly, Telikom’s Board of Directors chairman Mahesh Patel and Telikom PNG Ltd.

The restraining order puts on halt the transfer of Telikom PNG Ltd’s assets to PNG Dataco Ltd, or any other companies with a view to liquidate, dissolve or make Telikom redundant in the performance of its functions under the Telecommunication Act 2000, until further orders of the court.

The matter is expected back before the National Court on August 18.

The transferring of assets is part of the spill and fill exercise Telikom is currently carrying out where all assets will be transferred to PNG Dataco Ltd – an entity established two years ago with no business address and no operating office address, the PNG Communication Workers Union claims.  

While two NEC decisions were made and gazetted in January and again in June, it has not taken effect as yet. However, the union has taken out a blanket order against the NEC’s order and Telikom transferring the assets.  

President of the PNG Communication Workers Union, Nug Mamtirin, said Telikom was formed under an act of Parliament and it must require a repeal of that act before any transfer can take place.

“An NEC decision alone cannot justify the transfer by law to Dataco. It’s only an NEC decision and has to go through an act in parliament. We cannot allow a transfer to take place because Telikom, by act of Parliament, is a state owned entity owned by the 8 million people.

“It is here to provide services to the people. The question that the union is asking is who owns Dataco? It cannot duplicate the same services provided by Telikom, as such to transfer. They want to change the name and ownership of Telikom without any regard for the legislation that founded the basis for Telikom. The Telikom act basically becomes obsolete.

“What’s happening under the current decision is they just want to transfer the asset and forget about the employees. You cannot do that. When Telikom was corporatized, it moved with the assets as well as its employees,” Mamtirin said.

He also went on to say that from the spill and fill exercise, 600 of the 947 employees of Telikom will be made redundant, leaving over 300 employees to remain.

(File pic)

Sally Pokiton