Land group loses appeal


A LANDOWNER group has lost its appeal in the Supreme Court to reinstate its case that was dismissed by the National Court.
The appeal was brought by Nelululu Land Group Inc (NLGI) against Rimbunan Hijau (PNG) Ltd and Passismanua Inland Timber Resources Ltd (PITR).
A three-man bench, comprising Justice Joseph Yagi, Justice Thomas Anis and Justice John Kaumi found the appeal against the National Court decision on Jan 8 last year flawed and did not comply with the Supreme Court Act and Supreme Court Rules for appeal.
The court dismissed the appeal with costs on Aug 30.
In 2003, NLGI sued RH and PITR for compensation over the use of a land described as Volume 33, Folio 44, Aliwo Passage located at Kandarian, West New Britain, which it claimed owned with a title.
NLGI claimed that the two companies did not comply with an agreement entered by the parties on Dec 21, 1993, and had used the land without paying rent.
On April 2006, the National Court discovered a previous case against NLGI in 1996 which challenged the validity of title to the land and was unattended and not yet determined by the court.
The court then made an order to stop the proceeding in 2003 and continued with the case of 1996 to determine the validity of land title.
Disregarding that order, NLGI, brought another proceeding in 2006 to the Supreme Court, seeking to have the court declare that its title to the land was valid.
On Dec 19, 2014, the Supreme Court dismissed this proceeding and ordered for the two previous proceedings, of 1996 and 2003, to be consolidated and heard as one.
On Oct 7, 2016, the 2003 proceeding was referred for decision to be made without a trial but later relisted for hearing on Dec 9 the same year.
On the mentioned date, NLGI did not appear in court, so the case was dismissed.
On Feb 6, 2017, NGLI applied to the court to set aside the National Court’s decision to dismiss the matter but the National Court refused to set aside its decision.
NLGI then filed the appeal to the Supreme Court on Feb 16, 2018.