THE National Court has intervened to prevent the arrest of four prominent people in connection with the dispute between businessman Peter Yama, Motor Vehicle Insurance Limited and Bank South Pacific.
The four are Law Society president Kerenga Kua, MVIL chief executive officer John Mua, managing partner of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu James Kruse and BSP company secretary Mary Johns.
Mr Yama had filed a complaint with police that the four had conspired with others to defeat the course of justice by defying a legitimate Supreme Court order for MVIL to pay Yama Security Services K7.3 million. The money was diverted to Deloitte as an agent for BSP.
On Jan 15, 2010, Waigani District Court magistrate Fred Tomo issued warrants for the arrest of the four.
Last Friday, Justice Sao Gabi issued a stay on the warrant of arrest, stopping police from searching for and arresting the four.
Justice Gabi also granted leave to the four to challenge the decision of Magistrate Tomo in a judicial review proceeding.
Since the arrest of BSP executives John Maddison and Robin Flemming last month, word was out that police would go after the four.
While attending the memorial service of a friend who passed away early this month, Mr Kua and Dr Mua had to slip away from the St Joseph chapel in Boroko after being informed that police were after them. They did not travel in their own vehicles that day in fear of being arrested.
The arrest of the bankers and expatriates has received adverse publicity overseas, portraying PNG as a place where work was not carried out honestly and safely.
Mr Yama claimed he did not owe BSP any money and is seeking justice for people trying to prevent a legitimate payment for his company, as ordered by the Supreme Court.
A legal expert however warned that the charges by police against the bankers and other high profile people look questionable and would be dismissed by the court.
“Once the charges are dismissed, the State could be exposed to damages claims by the bankers for malicious prosecution,” a lawyer said on condition of anonymity.