Sir Mekere has no standing in PNGSDP case, says Court

The Supreme Court today dismissed a case filed by Sir Mekere Morauta, challenging the government’s decision to acquire shares belonging to the PNG Sustainable Development Program.

The court found that Sir Mekere did not have standing to bring such applications in court as a private citizen, describing it as an incompetent application and an abuse of the process of the court.

The correct party that should be in a court of law seeking relief in the application should be the company, SDP, and not its chairman, Sir Mekere.

The three-man Supreme Court bench found that Sir Mekere, a well-known Papua New Guinean, was being used to come to court in this case for the benefit of a foreign registered company – the PNG Sustainable Development Program.

Justice Ambeng Kandakasi, in delivering the decision, said SDP chose to submit to a foreign jurisdiction and not of the PNG Courts when it filed a case in the Singapore high court.

He said SDP alone stands to be affected by the Ok Tedi Tenth Supplemental Agreement Act of 2013.

He went on to say that it is a company law principle that once a company is incorporated, the company takes separate legal personality from its promoters, shareholders and officers.

The application was seeking declarations from the Supreme Court to order the Ok Tedi Tenth Supplemental Agreement Act of 2013 unconstitutional and illegal.

Tenth Supplemental Agreement Act of 2013 was passed in parliament that saw the government acquire 63.4 percent shares transferred from PNGSDP.

It was substantively seeking the return of the 63.4 percent holding shares to the former board of Ok Tedi Mining Limited, the repayment of outstanding dividends and payment of compensation with interest, amongst others.

Sally Pokiton