Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Papua New Guinea prime minister served with arrest warrant in fraud investigation

FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 file photo, Papua New Guinean Prime Minister Peter O'Neill waves upon arrival at Bali airport, Indonesia, to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. O'Neill was served with an arrest warrant on Monday in relation to a fraud case by the country's anti-corruption body, Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

Enlarge Image

FILE - In this Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 file photo, Papua New Guinean Prime Minister Peter O'Neill waves upon arrival at Bali airport, Indonesia, to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. O'Neill was served with an arrest warrant on Monday in relation to a fraud case by the country's anti-corruption body, Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported. (AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati)

CANBERRA, Australia - Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill avoided arrest over a multimillion dollar fraud case when a court on Monday halted an arrest warrant issued by the South Pacific country's anti-corruption watchdog.

The warrant relates to allegations that O'Neill personally authorized the illegal payment of about $30 million in government money to law firm Paul Paraka Lawyers, Investigation Task Force Sweep chairman Sam Koim said.

O'Neill previously has denied the allegations, arguing that a letter produced by the PNG opposition as evidence that he had authorized the payment was forged.

O'Neill's office said in a statement late Monday that national Court of PNG had made an order preventing his arrest under the warrant.

"This continuing saga needs to be brought to an end, and in the correct way through the correct process of our legal system," the statement said.

It is not immediately clear how the allegations will be resolved in light of the court order.

A senior officer at Port Moresby Police Headquarters said a letter signed by Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga requesting a formal record of interview was delivered to O'Neill on Monday.

The officer, who declined to be named because of the political sensitivity of the case, said O'Neill was offered two potential appointment times on Monday, but failed to show up to either.

O'Neill was then asked to suggest a suitable time for the police interview, but had yet to reply, the officer said.

"If he doesn't come in, we'll be forced to bring him in," the officer said before the court ruling.

O'Neill told Australia's SBS News that the warrant against him was politically motivated. "There is a lot of political movement in the country," he said.

The Investigation Task Force Sweep, which O'Neill created in 2011 as part of his anti-corruption drive, charged Paul Paraka Lawyers in October last year with offences including conspiracy to defraud, stealing by false pretense and money laundering.

The firm allegedly submitted fraudulent bills for legal work performed for the government.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media