Court stops bank’s land sale

National, Normal

The National – Tuesday, June 21, 2011

THE National Court in Waigani has restrained the National Development Bank from terminating a contract on the sale of land known as Portion 105, located at 9-Mile, outside Lae city, Morobe.
The land is owned by the 450 Tasol Ltd in Lae city.
450 Tasol Ltd is a Lae-based family business that had big plans to go into the real-estate industry on the 9-Mile land that it bought in a public tender in 2004.
But it is now tussling in court with the bank.
In 2004, Portion 105 was initially owned by another party that defaulted on payments, resulting in the bank putting the land on tender.
450 Tasol Ltd made the best bid and was granted title to the land.
The change in ownership from a company owned by businessman Utula Samana to 450 Tasol Ltd resulted in an earlier court proceeding.
The matter now before the court involves the bank allegedly trying to sell the land from under the noses of its new owners.
That led to 450 Tasol Ltd instituting proceedings to stop the sale.
The matter came before acting judge Justice Royale Thompson last Wednesday morning and she granted an interim injunction restraining the bank from terminating a contract for the sale of the land.
The bank said the seven-year delay by the Supreme Court in an earlier matter relating to the land was the reason for terminating the contract.
The court heard the bank had “acted deceitfully and unfairly” by telling the court that “450 Tasol Ltd was given an opportunity to mutually rescind the contract; when in fact, the plaintiff’s company had not done so”, its lawyer David Stevens, of Stevens Lawyers, said.
Stevens Lawyers submitted to court in an urgent application last Wednesday that its client believed the bank had simply “reneged so it can take advantage of a higher price for the same land even if it is from the defaulting mortgagor”.
Stevens argued the value of land in question was conservatively estimated at K10 million.
The case returns for further hearing on July 7.