State, PNGSDP dispute is about corporate governance: Judge

National

THE dispute between the State and the PNG Sustainable Development Programme was “about corporate governance of the company”, a judge says.
Singapore High Court judge Justice Vinodh Coomaraswamy last week rejected a bid by the Government to develop the company’s assets parked in Singapore, as stipulated in an agreement.
He said the Papua New Guinea Government failed to prove in court that there was a charitable trust allowing the State to “intervene”.
He addressed each of the argument made and explained why the state had failed in its bid to wrest control of PNGSDP from its independent board.
“I acknowledge I found the State’s narrative compelling and its logic attractive. But the essential problem is that this narrative stands alone and is unsupported by the evidence,” he said.
“For all the reasons set out, I hold the state fails entirely in its claim against PNGSDP. It is not entitled to the relief sought.”
According to The Strait Times, the Government lost its battle to wrest control of the company with assets worth about US$1.4 billion (K4.2 billion) spawned from a deal reached with BHP Minerals Holdings, the “largest mining company in the world”.
Justice Coomaraswamy said the PNG Government had failed to prove it had a deal with BHP Minerals Holdings for joint control to develop PNG Sustainable Development Program assets.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told The National on Sunday that the Government would appoint a Commission of Inquiry to look back at how the company was formed and how it had been run up to today.
O’Neill said the Government’s stand had always been that the company’s funds parked in Singapore must be given to the people of Western province.

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