COURT WRANGLE OVER HAMIDIAN-RAD'S CASH

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (August 12, 1999 - Post-Courier)---The Bank of PNG has transferred US$ 65,000 to an US bank account that was operated by the wife of economic adviser Dr. Pirouz Hamidian-Rad in alleged breach of a National Court order.

However, the claim was denied in court yesterday by Hamidian-Rad’s lawyer Powes Parkop.

It was also revealed in court that Hamidian-Rad had more than $261,000 in his personal account in Port Moresby, but had lied to the court about it.

The Supreme Court was told yesterday that the transaction to the United States was self-authorized by the BPNG (central bank) on July 30 and transferred to the account in Washington DC.

It was purportedly paid to a Dr. Willey for bills totaling US$ 81,000 owed by Dr Hamidian-Rad.

Chief Justice Sir Arnold Amet was told that the transaction was an express breach of the National Court's orders of July 24, which prevents Hamidian-Rad from transferring any money out of the country until his tax liabilities, if any, were sorted out.

Acting Solicitor General Hitalai Kiele presented a copy of the bank authority of more than US$ 65,000 to object to an application by the Iranian.

Lawyer Greg Sheppard, for the Internal Revenue Commissioner General David Sode, said his client had asked then Central Bank Governor Morea Vele to explain why he made the transfer, but was told to put his queries in writing.

Sir Arnold was told the IRC had not received a response since.

Lawyer Parkop objected to the document, as it did not make any reference to Ikub Consulting Ltd. or Hamidian-Rad.

He said the certificate was issued by the central bank to the bank itself and he also needed to seek further instructions from his client.

The bank document was produced as evidence in objection to an application by Hamidian-Rad to completely lift the freeze on his account by the IRC.

He also asked the court to lift the National Court order preventing him from travelling out of PNG.

Parkop submitted that the action by the State was harsh and oppressive and the freeze on Hamidian-Rad's account was making it hard for him to sustain daily needs or to run Ikub.

He said the court order of July 24, restraining Dr Hamidian-Rad's travel, was set aside by another order on July 27, and now the IRC was resorting to administrative powers.

In any case, he said, his client had filed a new application objecting to the IRC's tax assessment exercise on his income.

Kiele opposed the lifting of the orders, saying there was no guarantee Hamidian-Rad would return because he had already shown disregard for the court and that he had to remain in PNG because investigations against him were continuing.

Sheppard submitted that his client had the power to continue the investigations and the consultancy agreement specifically defines the "consultant'' exempted from paying tax as Ikub, and not Hamidian-Rad.

He suggested that if Hamidian-Rad was short of money, he should bring back into the country some of the money he had sent to the United States.

For additional reports from The Post-Courier, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Post-Courier (Papua New Guinea).

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