Waghi folks lose control of farm

Main Stories, National


THE people of North and South Waghi in Western Highlands no longer own Waghi Mek Coffee Plantations Ltd, a National Court in Mt Hagen learned yesterday.
A lawyer representing two defendants produced a document to show that the people of the two electorates now owed only Damine Plantation.
Bossipe Aipe said that the 45ha of coffee trees were being invaded by thick bush.
He said the councils of North and South Waghi and managing director Dick Hagon had owned 14 plantations, including Waghi Mek Coffee and Damine.
It was now no longer the case, he told the court.
Eleven plantations had been transferred to Eastern Pacific Mines Ltd, a company owned by Mr Hagon, he said.
The titles were transferred in April 2007 by the Bank South Pacific, he said.
Two others, namedly Wagamil Main and Wagamil Extension, were still owned by Wagamil Plantation Ltd, he said.
Mr Aipe, counsel for Sam Yuants and Paul Pou, was making his submissions before Justice Allan David.
Waghi Mek Plantations Ltd is suing his clients over the transfer of the titles.
They are claiming that the company does not having standing to sue them and wants the entire proceedings dismissed.
On Monday, Mr Aipe said the court should dismiss the matter and recommend to the authorities to investigate how the titles were transferred to Eastern Pacific Mines.
He said the plaintiff knew about it but chose not to disclose it.
He described it as a total abuse of the court process and that the matter should be dismissed.
Mr Aipe said according to the Lands Department, Eastern Pacific Mines held the titles over the following plantations previously owned by Waghi Mek Plantation – Talu, Karmal, Mintal, Karamang, Banz Block, Warakar, Sigiri, Jibina, Waghi, Kilip and Mangara.
He said Wagamil Plantation still held the title over the Wagamil Extension and Wagamil Main plantations.
“The plaintiff has filed proceedings alleging that it owns these plantations referred to by Mr Hagon’s affidavit filed on Jan 26.
“A file search at the Lands Department in Port Moresby shows that Waghi Mek Plantation Ltd owns only one plantation known as Damine being portion 158 volume 43, folio 141.”
He said the Government had promised to allocate K20 million to rehabilitate Waghi Mek Plantations Ltd but it would seem that the North and South Waghi LLGs no longer owned the plantations.
He claimed that some people had transferred the plantations to Eastern Pacific Mines.
Peter Kopunye, representing defendants Ben Kombangil and Michael Mondo, said he was ready to proceed with his motion but that Mr Aipe’s motion should be dealt with first together with the others filed by the counsel for the other 13 defendants.
On June 19, the plaintiff was granted a court order restraining the defendants from cutting, felling and milling timber in the plantations.