Schnaubelt stops royalty payments to provincial treasury


The Waigani National Court has ruled in favour of an application filed by Namatanai MP Walter Schnaubelt seeking court orders to restrain Newcrest Mining Ltd from making royalty payments to the provincial treasury.
Justice Hitelei Polume-Kiele granted the orders after the lawyer representing Schnaubelt, Keith Iduhu, filed an application seeking orders for the royalty payments and any future proposed payments to be paid into the National Court Trust Account as defined by a memorandum of agreement (MOA).
The court also granted an order to restrain Newcrest Mining from making further payments to the provincial treasury that is due and owing to the Kavieng and Namatanai pending determination proceedings until further orders.
Ihudu said the substantive proceedings were seeking orders for an account of the money dispatched in the last seven to 10 years to the provincial treasury, an account of those funds and also some form of restitution to respective districts – Kavieng and Namatanai.
He said the plaintiff needed to obtain those orders quickly because every 15th  day of the month was a practice hazard for this particular payment to be remitted to the provincial treasury. “The grounds are simply that a MOA is fair but has been unfairly administered,” he said.
“So far as it relates to the respective districts, it is debatable that it would be against the spirit of certain provincial defence of transaction act and therefore there is an absolute need for an account to be given.”