Port Moresby based lawyer, Peter Pena, was confronted and warned to stay away from the plaintiffs in the Ramu nickel mine case and to not go behind the back of their lawyer Tiffany Nonggorr, when he arrived at Madang airport on Friday.

Peter Pena was confronted outside the Madang airport terminal building
The warning came from Ms. Nonggorr herself, who along with several plaintiffs, including lead plaintiff Louis Medaing, were waiting for Mr. Pena outside the terminal building.

It is believed Pena was the orchestrator of the plot that removed the orginal plaintiffs challenging the mine’s marine waste dumping plans.

In front of witnesses, Nonggorr was seen to introduce Medaing to Pena and explained to Pena it is unethical and a breach of the lawyers’ Professional Conduct Rules for a lawyer retained by a party in a case to approach or contact another party directly.

She told Pena if he wanted to contact any of her clients he had to go through her.

The warning came because Mr. Pena had earlier this year contacted one of the original plaintiffs and engineered his, and the other plaintiffs, withdrawal from the case. Pena was retained by, and is believed to have been acting on, Mining Minister John Pundari’s instructions – after Pundari himself had made unsuccessful trips to Madang in an attempt to bring the Ramu case to a close.

According to those who observed the discussions at the airport, Mr. Pena listened politely to Ms. Nonggorr, but was clearly uncomfortable. Trying to get away as quickly as possible he boarded the wrong bus at the airport – getting on the Divine Word University bus rather than the bus for Peter Barter’s Madang Resort, where Mr. Pena was spending the weekend.

Mr. Pena operates his own law firm in Port Moresby. He is known as Prime Minister Somare’s personal, but behind the scenes, legal council. He has been heavily involved in the Exxon-Mobil LNG project and acted for the Prime Minister in the Julian Moti case.

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