Court stops auction of WHP plantation

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday, June 7th 2011

THE Minj National Court last Friday issued an interim order stopping the Mamgogl coffee plantation, located in Dei district, Western Highlands, from going under the hammer.
Resident judge David Allan granted interim orders sought by Mamgogl Ltd to stop sheriff Ian Augerea from auctioning the Mamgogl coffee plantation and its properties pursuant to order 4, rule 37 and order 13 Rule 21 of the National Court until the proceedings had been dealt with.
Mamgogl Ltd, a company owned by 16 shareholders groups in Muglamp and Kotna-Tigi LLG government councils representing more than 30,000 people, took the restraining order and stopped Patrick Pundao auctioneers from auctioning coffee plantation last Saturday at the Mt Hagen court house yard.
Allan ordered the matter be returned to him on June 17 at the Minj National Court.
The 16 shareholder groups in Dei that own about 380ha of the coffee plantation welcomed the court’s decision.
Tribal leaders and people from the Wali and surrounding Komka and Tepka tribes held a gathering last Saturday near Kitip Secondary School, in Dei, and said they, the shareholders and board of directors, did not give approval to anyone to auction the coffee plantation and its properties.
The community lea­ders – former council president and chairman of Mamgogl coffee plantation Kumin Dei, Cr Fox Wali, (Wali ward), Cr Plak Ruin (Komboga) and village court magistrate James Maip – who spoke on behalf of other leaders from other tribes like Ninbi, Komka, Kinspi, Tepka and Wali that have shares in the plantation totally opposed the sale.
They said the property was owned by the people of Dei and not by one or two particular people.
They said the plantation was established by an Australian businessman, Bob Gibbs, in 1970.
They said Gibbs sold it back to the principal landowners, the Wali tribe, under their business group called Tremearne Coffee Plantation Ltd in 1980.
The 15 other shareholders group contributed money and helped Wali to buy the plantation at a cost of K700,000 and changed its name from Mamgogl Pty Ltd to Mamgogl coffee plantation.
The company allegedly went bankrupt in 2002 under the previous management and in 2006, the board of directors ap­pointed Roken Enterprises Ltd to move in and rehabilitate the plantation.
The board of directors and shareholders, after seeing a local management company carrying out good work, held an annual general meeting on Aug 8, 2009, at the Mamgogl coffee factory and appointed the local company to manage the plantation for them.

The leaders said during the meeting they were happy with the management and its ability to bring the plantation back to its former glory days.