Locals withdraw BDG funds case

National, Normal

The National, Tuesday, May 3, 2011

LANDOWNER groups from the LNG-impacted Hides PDL 7 area gave their word before the Waigani National Court yesterday that all complaints relating to the business development grants, or seed capital, and their transactions have been solved.
This followed the withdrawal of an injunctive order, obtained in January by plaintiff Hides PDL 7 (block 1786) Holdings Ltd against the state and its responsible departments, to restrain transactions of BDG funds.
The plaintiff notified the court to discontinue the proceeding after having received several threats of civil suits for damages by the parties affected by the orders of Jan 19.
Justice Ambeng Kandakasi asked a packed courtroom 8 if the discontinuation of the proceedings was what they all wanted, and there were nods all around the room.
Kandakasi, while confirming the overall consent to discontinue the matter,
reiterated that the court would never entertain any fresh landowner complaints rising from disputes over BDG funds as their consent indicated that there will be no regrets later.
The crowded courtroom echoed in a unison of “yes” from the landowners, some of whom had uncertainty and misunderstanding written all over their faces but were observed nudged in their ribs by the few to nod in agreement.
The injunctive orders restrained the defendants and all commercial banks from allowing any transactions from accounts that held BDG funds until outstanding matters were resolved and approved by the court as settled.
The orders resulted from issues concerning BDG funds ending up in the wrong hands, parts of funds being siphoned by facilitators of the transaction, complaints between feuding parties over right to entitlement and other related issues.
In the proceedings, the plaintiff had named Commerce and Industry secretary John Andrias, Mining and Petroleum secretary Rendal Rimua, Finance secretary Gabriel Yer, (former) National Planning secretary Joe Lelang and the state as the first to fifth defendants.
The defendants were taken to court regarding payments and receipt of BDG funds paid towards the end of last year.