8 Jul 2014

PNG police told no case against PM

2:48 pm on 8 July 2014

Papua New Guinea's attorney general says there is nothing illegal or criminal in payments made by the state to a law firm.

This comes after weeks of turmoil centred on police efforts to arrest prime minister Peter O'Neill over his alleged involvement in payments to Paul Paraka Lawyers.

The payments include nearly 29 million US dollars over the past two years and had resulted in a number of arrests, among them the principal of the firm, Paul Paraka.

Ano Pala, who was appointed last month after the prime minister's sudden sacking of Kerenga Kua, has now written to the police commissioner, Geoffrey Vaki, saying new material he has exonerates Mr Paraka and the others charged.

Mr Pala is strongly critical of police handling of the case, claiming it lacked objectivity.

He says he has examined all the relevant material relating to the payments used by the anti- corruption agency, Task Force Sweep.

Task Force Sweep was disbanded last month and its head Sam Koim suspended.

Mr Pala says there is nothing illegal or criminal about the payments to Paraka Lawyers' by the state.

He says whether were excessive is another matter for the state to consider.