By JAYNE SAFIHAO
The National Court in Madang last Friday lifted the interim injunction order of March 19 on the construction and operation of the deep sea tailings placements (DSTP) system at Ramu NiCo Basamuk refinery on Rai Coast, Madang.
The 4pm decision followed the morning’s ruling where Justice David Cannings granted leave to the three remaining plaintiffs Eddie Tarsie, Farina Siga and Peter Sel – to withdraw from the proceeding and refused the application by Louis Medaing, a land claimant in Basamuk, to join the proceeding.
Tiffany Nonggorr of Nonggorr William Lawyers on the same day filed a fresh application to challenge the DSTP programme in the name of Medaing against Ramu NiCo, along with a notice of motion seeking another “urgent” interim injunction.
Cannings said the new application would be dealt with on its merits.
Landowners from Basamuk and Rai Coast outside the court house welcomed the decision and thanked Tarsie, Siga and Sel for discontinuing the litigation which had cost Ramu NiCo a lot of money and had severely hampered the multi-billion kina project.
Landowner issues stemming from an inaction by the Lands Titles Commission, divisions among the clans, the question of whether the plaintiffs were intimidated, harassed and threatened or bought off leading to their withdrawal and the subsequent joinder application by Medaing were argued with intensity and at length during the week before Cannings made his ruling.
He said the effect of the interim injunction in March was made for good reasons, as demonstrated by the decisions of the Supreme Court in Ramu NiCo (MCC) Ltd vs Eddie Tarsie SCA 40/2010 on July 16.
“However, at all stages of the proceedings I have emphasised that the court was aware of the impact of its decisions and the court’s desire and the need to have the trial expedited. If Medaing were at this late stage to be joined as a plaintiff there would inevitably be a further delay.
“There would be further uncertainty as to the future of the project.
“There would not be in the public interest nor would it advance the interest of justice.”
Cannings said if Medaing wanted to start fresh proceedings, he was at liberty to do so, giving him seven days.
He ordered that leave was granted to Tarsie, Siga and Sel to discontinue the proceedings provided that each of them file and serve a notice of discontinuance by today and that all parties bear their own costs of the entire proceedings.