Business development grant cases piling up in court

National, Normal

THE National Court in Waigani has registered more than 10 court cases last month alone filed by landowners from Southern Highlands battling against each other on who should benefit from the business development grants (BDG).
The National Court registry confirmed this yesterday and even said several court orders were already granted by the court stopping the department heads of Treasury and Commerce and Industry, banks and financial institutions from releasing or dealing with BDGs for the concerned landowners.
A National Court officer Theresa Anne, who is dealing with the files of landowners of the PNG LNG affected areas, said many landowner cases were registered in August alone when the BDG were paid out to landowner companies.
Anne said she would look into the exact files to do with landowners battling for the BDG but confirmed that and said many such landowner cases for the distribution of BDG had been heard in the courts.
Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika late last month issued a National Court order to the secretaries for Treasury and Commerce and Industry from paying any BDG to Juha PDL 9 landowners.
Salika also restrained the central bank, Bank of Papua New Guinea and commercial banks and financial institutions from accepting or processing any cheque payments released by the Treasury or Commerce and Industry departments to Juha landowners as BDG.
This court order was issued a week after another similar court order was taken by one faction of Gobe landowners stopping the payments while many more similar cases were still before the court.