Disclose gold deal, court orders PNG government

PHOTO: DevPolicy

Papua New Guinea deputy Chief Justice Ambeng Kandakasi has ordered the Government to disclose all relevant information regarding the national gold refinery deal it struck with Singapore’s National Gold Corporation.

“It is critical and important that every citizen should be made aware of what is being proposed, and the public should be given access to official documents, pursuant to Section 51 of the Constitution,” he said.

“This process of gold refinery, while it may be a welcome news for the country as to who is owning it, especially when a company is proposed to be proponent, developer or the owner of the resource, the country needs to know the good and the bad of it all and the justification of the agreement.”

Deputy Chief Justice Kandakas made the order on 24 May, ordering Prime Minister James Marape, National Planning Minister Renbo Paita, the National Executive Council and suspended Justice Secretary Dr. Eric Kwa to release the project agreement as it would be turned into a law that would have a great impact on the country’s gold industry.

The case was filed by Justin Parker of Golden Valley Enterprise Limited, who wanted to know the gold refinery agreement between the Government and the Singaporean company.

Deputy Chief Justice Kandakasi said “an accountable government is open to its people in having meaningful conversations about proposals if there is going to be changes in law, the merits and demerits of such proposed changes with wider consultations and debates in the floor of parliament”.

“These days, there seem to be hardly any debate in the floor of parliament. So the hopes of an issue being properly considered and argued in Parliament is not taking place when that is the case,” he said.

“Although there would be arguments, the duly elected members are there for the purpose of representing their electorates when it comes to serious issues, policy issues legislative issues and constitutional amendments. “The MPs need to go back to their people to hear their say, and then based on their people’s view by authority and instructions, they debate in parliament and decisions ought to be made,” he said.

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