LOs’ account opening halted

A blanket court order has halted the clan bank account opening exercise for the PNG LNG Project’s PDL 7 landowners in Komo, Hela Province.

The Umbrella Hides PDL 7 Association has taken out an urgent blanket restraining order on the Mineral Resources Development Company (MRDC) and the Department of Petroleum and Energy (DPE) from carrying out further activities in the PDL 7 area.

The order was granted by the courts on November 14. 

On Thursday, after completion of Timalia Gangulu block awareness in the PDL7 area in Hides for the bank accounts’ opening, certain leaders including Eric Hawai, Huriba Andago, Tolai Awe, Alocis Pangali and Haluni Homogo got a court order O/S number 225/2019 to stop the process.

They claimed in the court that the decision done by DPE to gazette the identified 277 clan is illegal and want the court to revoke the ministerial determination and redo it.

This comes after MRDC has been on the ground in Hela last week carrying out awareness activities with the four major clan groups in the PDL 7 area as a lead up to the account opening process.

MRDC had left out the entire Tuguba block clans from the exercise due to an existing court proceeding in which the Tuguba clans were seeking a judicial review of the ministerial determination and a review on their respective project agreement grants.

The Solicitor General and MRDC lawyers made submissions against the application on grounds of competency and substance, including the fact that the program did not include disputing clans.

Despite the grounds raised, the court granted the application and ordered the MRDC and the defendants to stop the program.

Chairman of Hides PDL7, Andy Hamaga, told this newsroom from Hides that the entire tribe of PDL7 have unanimously agreed to support the state and MRDC for account opening.

He said Eric and the other leaders do not represent them.

Hamaga further stated that the 277 clans in PDL7 have never mandated the association and the 6 plaintiffs to represent them in challenging the ministerial determination.

The clan account opening process has been successfully implemented for the PNG LNG Plant site communities and the PNGLNG pipeline segments 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5.

Freddy Mou