The National, Friday November 1st, 2013
by MALUM NALU
PNG Power Ltd (PPL) has been given seven days to pay an outstanding amount of more than K2 million to the Arona Valley Development Authority, or face contempt charges.
Warner Shand Lawyers, acting for the authority, wrote to PPL chief executive John Tangit on Tuesday to comply with a court order to pay the amount.
Tangit caould not be reached for comment as he is understood to be away overseas.
Lawyer Michael Wilson said the National Court had ordered PPL, on March 27, 2012 to release funding under the development assistance package to the authority.
The package was a commitment by the State to support community development projects through the authority to improve the living conditions of landowners.
The agreed amount to be paid to AVDA by PPL from Jan 2011 to Dec 2013 totaled K2.5 million. But only K233,000 had paid by May.
It is guided by a memorandum of understanding between State and the authority that is reviewed every five years.
“We are advised that the balance of K2,289,745.56 due to AVDA under the agreed development assistance package remains unpaid,” Wilson said in the letter to Tangit.
“We note from your letter that you are still withholding these funds and directing our clients to reconcile their differences with members of the AVDA representing the Agarabi group … due to a garnishee order on the AVDA account.
“We are now instructed to bring your non-compliance of the National Court Goroka orders of Mar 27, 2012 to the court’s attention, and hereby put you on notice that unless the payment of K2,289,745.56 is paid to AVDA within seven days of the date of this letter, we are instructed to file an application for contempt charges against PNG Power Ltd and the relevant officers who refuse to comply with the orders.
“We trust you will attempt to amicably settle this matter immediately as your further delay in payment of funding to AVDA is resulting in a lot of hardship for the board of directors.”
Authority chairman Rodney Marato said: “We have exhausted our limited
resources and efforts to engage effectively with PNG Power to progress community development projects under the DAP.
“We have been waiting for almost two months but they are travelling all over the world.”