By JAYNE SAFIHAO, The National
Eddie Tarsie, Farina Siga and Peter Sel indicated through their lawyer Steven Lawyers that they would file the notice of motion to discontinue and supporting affidavits today.
Tiffany Nonggorr of Nonggorr Williams Associate, the lawyer who had been representing them in this case, yesterday made an application to join Louis Mediang, a land title claimant from Rai Coast, to the proceedings, insisting in court that the joinder application to be heard immediately. However, lawyers for defendants argued that the court should first establish whether Tarsie, Siga and Sel wanted to proceed with the claims or not.
The trial was due to start yesterday with a few interlocutory matters to be heard first. Both Ramu NiCo and the state had filed applications in court seeking millions of kina of securities for legal costs and for damages already incurred.
After hearing both sides’ submissions, justice David Cannings adjourned the case to 1.30pm today when he would make a decision on the future of the proceedings. He also ordered Tarsie, Siga and Sel to appear before him.
On Sept 1, two earlier plaintiffs in the case, Sama Melambo and Pommerm ILG, were granted permission to cease litigation proceedings against Ramu NiCO and the state. In his affidavit in support, Melambo criticised the foreign interests operating behind the litigation, saying they were hijacking the agenda through foreign-financed NGO groups like Bismarck Ramu Group.
Melambo explained that his people’s complaints had been mainly with the lack of basic infrastructure and growth opportunities in the Rai Coast region, not about stopping the nickel-cobalt project through the DSTP litigation.
Nonggorr is also representing two other landowner cases against Ramu NiCo.
Last month, her client Joseph Koroma, a land claimant in the Kurumbukari mine site area in Usino-Bundi district, expressed his dissatisfaction in The National that his lawyer was not acting on instructions and that the Australian anti-mining NGO group Mineral Policy Institute had failed to deliver on promises.
Koroma said the money earmarked for his own case against Ramu NiCo had been used to fight the Basamuk DSTP case which in turn was likely to stop the future of the project and that of all stakeholders.
In court yesterday afternoon, Nonggorr said she had tried in vain to contact her clients but failed.
“I have always had direct access to my clients and call them all the time.
“This time they are not answering their phones and I do not know where they are,” she told the court.