Thursday, February 24, 2011

Principal plaintiff not landowner

The National - Thursday, February 24, 2011
LOUIS Medaing, the principal plaintiff in the ongoing deep sea tailings placement (DSTP) system court hearing in Madang, is not from the Tong clan in the Basamuk area, according to principal landowners in court yesterday.
The landowners, who gave evidence on behalf of Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Ltd, told the court that Medaing came from Mebu in the inland of Rai Coast, many kilometres away from the company’s Basamuk nickel refinery site.
Medaing claimed that he was from the Tong clan and was given the authority to represent the clan, including Sawang families that make up the Ongeg clan in the Basamuk area.
He was one of 10 plaintiffs.
The landowners informed the court that Medaing and his family migrated from Mebu to Basamuk and he was not originally from the Ongeg clan and he was not even given the authority to represent them in court.
The court was further informed that because of Medaing’s education, the Tong clan only authorised him to deal with the land dispute concerning portions 109 and 110 where the refinery is situated and did not authorise him to take MCC to court over the DSTP issue.
Dubam Awan, a Village Court magistrate from the Tong clan in the Basamuk area, further confirmed in his sworn affidavit that Medaing was not from the Tong clan, instead migrated from Mebu.
Another witness Boge William, son of the Ongeg clan chief, told the court that Medaing was not given the authority to represent the Sawang families that made up the Ongeg clan.
Awan, Bugi William and Gabin Asuk also told the court that they had attended all the awareness on the DSTP conducted by the state since 1999 and were satisfied that there would be no impact to human and marine lives.
All witnesses withstood vigorous cross examinations by the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Tiffany Nonggorr, and told the court that there was no reason to fear the tailings would affect human and marine life based on what the state and Ramu NiCo had told them during the awareness conducted to date.
The case continues with more witnesses to be called in.

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