26 Mar 2018

Controversial PNG lawyer seeks hefty damages payment

4:05 pm on 26 March 2018

The controversial Papua New Guinea lawyer Paul Paraka has launched legal action seeking damages for the long-running probe into state payments to his law firm.

Paul Paraka

Paul Paraka Photo: PNGExposed

The Paraka Lawyers firm has been at the centre of a series of court cases regarding alleged fraudulent state payments.

One of the cases, involving a 30 million US dollar payment, engulfed the highest levels of government, although an arrest warrant for prime minister Peter O'Neill in relation to the case was last December quashed by PNG's supreme court.

Mr Paraka was arrested and charged by the government-mandated anti-corruption investigative team Task Force Sweep in October 2013.

A number of legal cases related to allegations against Mr Paraka remain on foot.

The lawyer says the probe and the publicity around it have destroyed his reputation and caused significant loss of business for his firm.

According to the Post Courier, Mr Paraka is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in damages from the state, its agents and those individuals involved in the probe.

Defendants in his claim include a number of MPs, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and Foreign Minister Rimbink Pato, members of Task Force Sweep and district court judges.

"Those individuals who screwed me up, they're going to pay me big compensation for destroying the biggest law firm in this country," Mr Paraka told a press conference in the capital.

"I'll make sure they pay that from their own pockets. If they don't have the money to pay, I'll have them declared bankrupt.

"They'll lose all their jobs and privileges that they have and they'll walk on the streets of Port Moresby, just the way I struggled."

According to the newspaper, Mr Paraka has also applied to the courts to invoke a section in the constitution to imprison the defendants for up to 10 years for alleged breach of his right as a citizen.

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