Michael Pascoe writes:

Colourful Perth property
identity Warren Anderson yesterday lost his attempt to get $90 million out of
West Australian tax payers
in a belated footnote to the Rothwells WA Inc scandal. Good. I hope his legal
bills are huge.

Perhaps the multi-millionaire might in some
very small way now understand how the PNG public sector superannuation funds
felt in 1994 when they lost millions thanks to a highly dubious property
transaction. Then again, he probably doesn’t.

When Anderson’s tilt at WA
government surfaced last year we reminded
subscribers of Anderson’s amazing Cairns windfall at the PNG funds’ expense. Let’s do it again to maximise
the schadenfreude over Justice Michael Murray’s verdict.

Anderson sold the PNG funds a building in Cairns for $18.72 million that he had purchased a fortnight earlier for
$9.75 million. As Andrew Fowler reported for Four Corners in 2002, a PNG Ombudsman’s inquiry found the former Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan,
and others stood to make considerable financial gains from this transaction:

ANDREW FOWLER: In October 2000, Morauta’s
government lodged a court claim in Cairns and Port Moresby for $30 million damages
against Chan, Anderson and the former finance minister Chris Haiveta, among

former PNG Government lawyer): I understand that the government of Prime Minister Mekere Morauta
approved for the writ to be filed in court, and I received instructions from
the lawyers in Melbourne to file the writ in Port Moresby, which I did.

ANDREW FOWLER: A few weeks later, the National Executive Council – PNG’s
Cabinet – reviewed the case after seeking a second legal opinion.

DR JOHN NONGGORR: The National Executive Council had decided that, ah, this
matter should not be pursued. That’s the conclusion I’ve reached.

ANDREW FOWLER: Why do you think they decided that?

DR JOHN NONGGORR: Um, I don’t know because, um, I cannot say what went
through the minds of the people in the National Executive Council. But,
of course, ah, people can draw their own conclusions from what has
happened. Um, a number of people who were named in the writ are members
of the National
Executive Council.

Warren, you won that time. Hope it made you feel really good
about yourself. Too bad about yesterday. Not.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey