The fight for Ok Tedi


THE ownership, governance, board appointments, decisions, and environmental damage are different issues impacting the operation of the Ok Tedi mine in Western.
These are different matters in business and law.
Collectively, they influence the activities and management of the mine.
The ownership of the mine is the core issue at hand.
PNG Sustainable Development Programme Limited (PNGSDP) owned 53 per cent equity interest in the Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML), a company that owns and manages the mine. The balance was held by the government and a Canadian company.
This was the ownership of OTML before the expropriation of the ownership of the mine by the PNG government.
PNGSDP is a private company incorporated in Singapore and registered in PNG to conduct its business. In law, PNGSDP is a legal citizen of Singapore.
Due to disagreements in the boardroom between the government board members and other private board members over the operations of the PNGSDP in PNG, the government board members and their cohorts advised the government to expropriate the mine, which it did eventually.
A law was introduced and approved by Parliament which legally forced the PNGSDP and Canadian partner to hand over their equity interest in OTML to the PNG Government.
This was how the Government took over 100 per cent of OTML and fully controls the mine in Western today.
Following the forced takeover of the mine, without a compensation payment to PNGSDP, the government transferred 33 per cent of the equity holding in OTML to the landowners and provincial government of Western.
Put simply, expropriation is stealing assets from an investor by a sovereign government.
This is what the government has done to PNGSDP.
It is a serious commercial crime in business and law. This is the reason why its ended up in the Singapore courts for adjudication and ruling.
The Singapore court decision against the government will have serious implications and ripple effects on foreign investment, the economy, the government, Parliament, Kumul Holdings Group, and the provincial government and landowners of Western.
The government does not have any chance at all of winning this court battle over the expropriation of the mine in the international courts.
The prime minister, the former government board members of PNGSDP, and their advisers got it all wrong in the first place.
The prime minister should consider stepping down because of the enormity of the implications of the Singapore court decision.
A commission of enquiry into the expropriation should be established to investigate and report on this commercial crime which was committed by our government and its advisers, and Parliament.

Concerned Taxpayer