The laws of unclaimed moneys in Papua New Guinea
(PNG) are found in the Unclaimed Moneys
Act 1963. This piece of vintage legislation dates back to pre
PNG independence. In my view the Act should be updated to reflect
PNG's actively expanding modern economy.
Will the Unclaimed Moneys Act apply to my
The Act applies to any of the following:
PNG incorporated companies;
Registered foreign companies; and
Firms (such as individual partnerships).
If you fall into any of the above categories and have unclaimed
dividends, bonuses, profits, salaries, interest or wages which:
are over K10 (about AUD $4); and
have remained unpaid for 12 months or more,
then you are required by PNG law to keep a register of unclaimed
moneys. The register needs to be in the prescribed form and kept at
the principal office or place of business in PNG1.
What needs to be done and when?
Each entry in the register must be advertised by the company or
firm in the National Gazette. Advertising is required during March
in each year. There is also a requirement to:
lodge a copy of all the entries in the register to the
Registrar of Unclaimed Moneys; and
allow any person inspection of the register.
If there has been no advertisement then there is still a
requirement to provide a statement to the relevant
authority2. The statement needs to go together with
payment of any unclaimed moneys. All unclaimed moneys will then be
placed in an account called the Unclaimed Moneys Fund.
Failure to comply with the provisions of the Act constitutes an
offence whereby monetary penalties will be applied.
Being aware of the legal and regulatory compliance issues facing
your business should reduce operational risk and potential claims.
If in doubt you should always speak to a PNG admitted lawyer to
discuss regulatory compliance issues.
1See section 6 of the Unclaimed Moneys
2Section 7 of the Unclaimed Moneys
Act provides that the statement needs to be made in the
prescribed form. (i.e. Form 2) within 14 days after the expiration
of that period of 12 months, by the company or firm to an
accountable officer to be placed in the Trust Fund to the credit of
an account to be known as the Unclaimed Moneys Fund
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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