16 Jul 2014

Paraka saga claims another legal scalp

8:43 pm on 16 July 2014

The lawyer representing Papua New Guinea's police commissioner, Geoffrey Vaki, has been arrested and charged by members of the National Fraud Squad.

Sam Bonner was confronted by fraud squad members outside the National Court this morning and forced into the back of a squad car after he refused to go in for questioning.

Our correspondent, Todagia Kelola, says Mr Bonner has been charged with receiving fraudulent payments in relation to the Paraka Lawyers payments scandal that has shaken PNG politics in recent weeks.

"They will be laying three criminal charges against him. Number one is stealing; number two is conspiracy to defraud and number three is money laundering. His arrest is part of ongoing investigations into the Paul Paraka saga."

Todagia Kelola says the fraud squad has rejected rumours that Mr Bonner was arrested for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice for trying to have an arrest warrant for the Prime Minister Peter O'Neill set aside.

The warrant was issued last month in relation to Mr O'Neill's alleged role in authorising illegal payments of 29 million US dollars to the Paraka law firm.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports emerging from PNG today indicate police from the Highlands region are being deployed to Port Moresby as tensions loom over moves by elements of the police force to arrest the Prime Minister.