Court allows former MP to appeal

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THE Supreme Court has allowed former Western governor Bob Danaya to appeal a Nov 2 National Court’s consent orders to approve payments of debts to be paid from non-continuing mining communities agreement (non-CMCA) trust funds.
The non-CMCA and community mine continuation agreement were enacted from Ok Tedi mining agreement through a National Executive Council decision on Nov 29, 2006, to enable the State to pay compensation through Ok Tedi Mining Ltd (OTML) for dumping toxic mine waste on the land, causing irreparable and irreversible damage to traditional lands and environment of Western.
Justice Collin Makail yesterday granted leave to Danaya to appeal the National Court decision which approved payment to several contractors engaged in various contracts in Western.
Danaya claimed he was aggrieved by the decision and he desired to obtain leave to appeal the decision as he was a landowner from Kotale village in Balimo, Middle Fly, and a beneficiary of the non-CMCA fund.
He relied on three grounds which he sought leave to appeal the decision:

  • BREACH of statute, which Danaya seeks to challenge the National Court decision because non-CMCA funds neither belonged to the OTML nor the State were unlawfully released to the contractors;
  • STATUTE barred, which he submits that contractors claims were time-barred, as they were outside the time stipulated under s16 of the Frauds and Limitation Act, 1988; and,
  • DISCRETION by the primary judge to enter the judgement constituted an Abuse of Process.

Justice Makail noted issues raised by OTML, Western Governor Taboi Awi Yoto, Mining Minister Johnson Tuke and Department of Mineral Policy and Geohazards Management secretary Harry Kore, about Danaya’s standing as a representative of the non-CMCA communities, was different from being a “person who desires” to obtain leave to appeal.
Danaya was ordered to file and serve a notice of appeal within 21 days of the order.