The National, Monday July 8th, 2013
By ADRIAN MATHIAS
EAST New Britain businessman Eremas Wartoto has successfully excluded some of his property from a restraining order sought by the public prosecutor as they were not “proceeds of unlawful activity” after the National Court in Port Moresby upheld his application last week.
Wartoto made the application in the National Court represented by Justin Haiara of Steeles Lawyers under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
He argued before Justice Panuel Mogish that the properties (land), located in Vanimo, Lae, Madang and Kimbe and funds standing in ANZ account 13272335, held in the name of Saralok West Transport Ltd, including any interest accruing to that account, were purchased well before the alleged unlawful activities as alleged by the public prosecutor.
Raphael Luma, acting for Public Prosecutor Pondros Kaluwin, urged the court to take pecuniary (financial) penalty against Wartoto.
But Mogish found his submissions misconceived as there was no formal application by the public prosecutor.
“The public prosecutor was at liberty to formally apply for pecuniary penalty order against the applicant (Wartoto),” Mogish said, while ruling on the case last week, adding that this issue would become relevant upon the public prosecutor making a formal application in court.
The restraining order was issued by the National Court on Aug 30 last year following an application by the plaintiff or respondent under section 39 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2005.
“As it stands, there are no other legal reasons warranting the continued exclusion of the specified property. I grant the orders sought by Wartoto in his notice of motion filed on Sept 25, 2012,” the judge said.
“I order that the properties of Wartoto listed in schedule 1 of order 2 made on August 2012 be excluded from the restraining order pursuant to section 42 (1) and (2) (c) of the act,” Mogish said.