JACOB POK PASO
THE former general manager of NCD Botanical Enterprises Ltd, Wolfgang Bandisch, has been working in Papua New Guinea without a valid work permit for the past four years, the Waigani National Court was told yesterday.
The court heard that his work permit had been revoked when Bandisch’s employment with the NCD Botanical Enterprises was terminated in July 2005, for alleged mismanagement.
However, he countered by taking the company to court to claim damages.
Bandisch, a German, claimed he had entered into a formal employment contract for a period of one-year as the general manager on Nov 1, 2000.
When the one-year term ended, the contract was renewed for five years until it was terminated on July 29, 2005, amid allegations of mismanagement and misappropriation of the company’s funds.
The court heard that this forced Bandisch to take legal action for breach of employment contract and a claim for the damages he suffered after his sacking.
He claimed that during his employment period, the company failed to organise his work permit although he had asked for one.
He alleged that he was given a business visa which often forced him to leave PNG on numerous occasions and re-apply for a new one before returning.
However, the company argued that it was Bandisch’s responsibility to administer the company’s affairs, including his own work permit while employed as the general manager.
It added that there was no agreement in writing, or orally, between the two parties for the company to arrange for the work visa or temporary residency permit.
The company further alleged that Bandisch had illegally worked in a paid employment in Papua New Guinea for five years without a valid work permit.
Justice Cathy Davani, however, noted that it was the employer’s responsibility to ensure that its employee had a work permit or make applications for a work permit prior to engaging a non-citizen in any occupation.
Justice Davani explained that she was unable to make any decisions on the assessment of damages as the affidavits provided by both parties needed more clarifications on the aspect of amount owed.
But she handed down her decision on liability and ordered that there was a contract of employment between the plaintiff and the defendant during the period Nov 1, 2001, to July 29, 2005.
She further ordered that the issue of whether the plaintiff was entitled to what he sought and the assessment of damages be adjourned to December, adding that the plaintiff and the defendant may file affidavits for the hearing.