The Supreme Court today rejected an application by Chairman of the PNG Sustainable Development Program, Sir Mekere Morauta, regarding the PNG SDP shares in Ok Tedi Mining Limited.
A new Mining Act was passed in 2013, which allowed for all the shares belonging to PNG SDP to be transferred to the state.
The application was for the court to interpret the Act, called the Ok Tedi Tenth Supplemental Agreement or TSA, on whether or not it is unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court ruled out the application based on two factors.
Firstly, the application is not of public interest, but for the commercial interest of the PNG Sustainable Development Program.
Secondly, the applicant, Sir Mekere Morauta, failed to clarify to the court if his application was of the public’s interest.
Following these two factors, the Supreme Court ruled that PNG SDP, which is a foreign owned company, was mostly affected and Sir Mekere was used to come to the court for their benefit.
Following the passing of the TSA in 2013, PNGSDP shares in Ok Tedi were cancelled and transferred to the state.
The TSA Act provides for compensation to be paid as property by the state.
Sir Mekere, who is also the Chairman of SDP, sought relief to have its shares returned.
He filed this application for the court to interpret if the TSA Act was unconstitutional, invalid and of no force or effect.
However, the Supreme Court was in favour of the PNG government, arguing that Sir Mekere was acting solely for foreign interests. The Supreme Court found that Sir Mekere does not have the standing to bring this matter to the court.
The court ruled that his application is incompetent and is an abuse of the court’s processes.