26 Jul 2005

PNG tax collectors face hurdle in Bougainville Copper case

8:38 am on 26 July 2005

The Supreme Court of Papua New Guinea has temporarily barred the Internal Revenue Commission from pursuing millions of dollars in outstanding taxes from Bougainville Copper Ltd.

The former Panguna mine operator had sought leave for a judicial review of a National Court order that it pays the taxes assessed for the years 1998-2001.

In granting the application, Justice Timothy Hinchliffe, said BCL had an appropriate case and if refused, would suffer "possible hardship and be severely prejudice".

He is reported by newspaper The National as saying that if he turned down the application, BCL would irretrievably lose the interest on the money and receive no compensation.

Also, he said, BCL would close down its Port Moresby office and people might lose jobs.