23 Feb 2005

Nauru Government could take legal action to remove Australian receivers

4:36 pm on 23 February 2005

The Nauru Government says legal action is still possible to remove Australian receivers who it believes are taking too long to settle its international debts.

A meeting was to have taken place in Australia this week between a government representative and the receivers, Prentice Parberry Barilla.

PPB has settled Nauru's 188 million US dollar debt to America's General Electric Capital Corporation and expects to have 63 million US dollars surplus for Nauru.

First, though, it says it must ensure Nauru's paid all the tax it owes in Australia, and needs help from Nauru to examine tax records.

The Minister in charge of the Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust, Frederick Pitcher, says Nauru will work with PPB but would like them removed from the job if possible.

"There is the potential, or possibility, that we could seek redress in the court to replace the receivers. We're still considering, I would say, we just haven't actually acted on it yet. There's always the potential that we could go that way."

Mr Pitcher says the meeting with PPB this week was called off on legal advice, but it may go ahead next week or the week after.

The Government also faces separate legal action from Nauru landowners who want the residual funds paid to them individually rather than to the Government or the trust.