The National, Monday 30th July 2012
By HENRY MORABANG
RUGBY league is set to move forward following the dismissal of a court case against the Papua New Guinea Rugby League interim administration.
PNGRFL interim administrator Ivan Ravu welcomed the court decision, saying the game had to move forward, and he would not waste time on the past.
Ravu’s major task will be to assemble a Prime Minister’s XIII side to take on the visiting Australian Prime Minister’s side in eight weeks in the annual fixture.
Ravu said the National Court last Wednesday dismissed the court case against interim administration of PNG Rugby League.
The case was initiated by Wabag RL president Joseph Kilipali and the president of the other 18 highlands leagues and Joe Tokam against the interim PNGRFL board.
The case was being dismissed in its entirety by the National Court, which found the application challenging the authority of the interim administration of the PNGRFL to be without merit and amounting to an abuse of process.
The court found the 18 highlands leagues and several other leagues that had paid their affiliation fees to Joe Tokam (former highlands development officer) into a “highlands schoolboys rugby league account” in Mt Hagen was improper.
“Those leagues are not recognised affiliates or members of the PNGRFL unless the affiliation fees are paid into the PNGRFL account in Port Moresby” the court said.
In his ruling, Justice Ere Kariko said Tokam was no longer an employee of the PNGRFL and did not have any authority to conduct any business for and on behalf of the PNGRFL.
In particular Kariko said Tokam had no authority to collect money on behalf of the PNGRFL and could not hold himself to be a representative of the PNGRFL.
Tokam and three other regional development officers – Alois ToBata (NGI) Steve Malum (Northern) and Ripa Kalamo (Southern) – were all paid their final entitlements last year when their employment with the PNGRFL was terminated.
In dismissing the case, Kariko ordered that the first plaintiffs – Joseph Kilipal and 18 highlands leagues presidents, second plaintiff Tokam and their lawyers Manase Lawyers were jointly responsible for payment of all costs including legal costs relating to this case.
The PNGRFL affiliates are Port Moresby, Papua, Lae, Tabubil, East New Britain, Gazelle, Moaina, Bougainville, Kimbe, Vanimo, Kainantu, Wau and Bulolo.