PM's bid to overturn court dismissal denied in PNG

1:46 pm on 6 May 2016

Papua New Guinea's prime minister Peter O'Neill has been knocked back by the Supreme Court on another legal application against a fraud squad investigation.

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O'Neill

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O'neil Photo: Supplied

Mr O'Neill's lawyers filed a "slip rule" application arguing that judges made an error in dismissing an appeal by him and finance minister James Marape, lifting orders preventing the ministers from being arrested.

The fraud squad has been probing the ministers' roles in allegedly illegal state payments worth around 30 million US dollars in legal bills to a law firm, Paraka Lawyers.

The police fraud squad has sought to arrest Mr O'Neill over the case since 2014 however this was delayed by a series of legal challenges to the validity of the arrest warrant and the investigation.

Last month, the Supreme Court lifted stay orders on the investigation, paving the way for a series of high profile arrests, including of the Attorney-General, one of the prime minister's lawyers and a Supreme Court judge alleged to have taken a bribe while deliberating on matters around the fraud case.

A separate court order still prevented police from arresting Mr O'Neill, but not Mr Marape.

The investigation also landed the fraud squad offside with the police commissioner, Gary Baki, who alleged he had been kept "out of the loop" over the fraud case files.

His attempts to suspend the fraud squad detectives and lock them out of their office have been stayed by the courts.

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