The Ok Tedi Fly River Development Foundation and eight other plaintiffs have commenced proceedings in the High Court of Singapore against Ok Tedi Mining LImited, PNG Sustainable Development Ltd, Sir Mekere Morauta, The Independent State of PNG and the Singapore Trustee Company called the TMF Trustees Singapore Limited.
Young and Williams Lawyers have taken carriage of this matter and released a statement yesterday confirming this action taken by the people of Western Province through the foundation and eight other representatives.
The representative plaintiffs joining the foundation are from the 8 CMCA regions and include Tom Waipa (Suki Fly Gogo), Brian Goware (North Bank Manawate), Gariba David Marude (Kiwai Island, Kiwaba), Sisa Baidam (South Bank, Dudi), Max Giawele (Middle Fly), Robin Inberem Morgen (Lower Ok Tedi), Bob Wai (Highway) and Bosi Kasiman (North Ok Tedi).
The claim in Suit 628 in the High Court of Singapore relates to the 52 per cent shareholding in OTML formely held by BHP Minerals and transferred to PNGSDP on or around February 7th 2002 and/or the income derived from these shares.
The allegations they are filing in Suit 628 among others are the following:
- OTML is liable to the affected communities for making false representations that the shares and any income derived from the shares would belong to the affected communities
- PNGSDP is liable for breach of fiduciary duties owed to the affected communities, by applying monies for improper purposes and by failing to administer the Long Term Fund in accordance with the roles of PNGSDP.
- OTML, PNGSDP, Sir Mekere and the state are liable for Conspiracy to cause loss to the affected communities; and
- PNGSDP and the State are liable for unjust enrichment at the expense of the affected communities.
The statement further stated that the plaintiffs seek among others the following reliefs:
- Damages against OTML, PNGSDP, Sir Mekere and the state
- An order that any security arrangements in favour of the Trustee company (TMF Trustees Singapore Limited) relating to assets controlled by PNGSDP be rendered void; and
- An order that PNG SDP pays over the Long Term Fund to the Foundation.
The summary of claims was brought on the 13th July 2020.
This lawsuit comes after the PNG Government under then Prime Minister Peter O’Neill filed also at the Singapore High Court seeking to bring monies held by the trustee in Singapore but failed as the courts were in favour of PNGSDP.