Former Papua New Guinea prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta has dismissed as 'fake news' reports he had talks with government members the Enga governor Sir Peter Ipatas and public enterprise minister William Duma.
Local reports suggest he had offered both men the prime ministership in the event of a successful vote of no confidence.
Both Sir Peter Ipatas and Mr Duma have denied the story and been scathingly critical of Sir Mekere.
But he also says the story is untrue.
Sir Mekere claims the story emanates from the office of the prime minister and is part of a desperate campaign by Peter O'Neill to hang onto his job.
Sir Mekere says he has great professional and personal respect for Sir Peter and Mr Duma, and it is nonsense that he would try to embarrass them through improper or indiscreet behaviour.
Sir Mekere says he had been warned that a dirty tricks campaign was being prepared for the Vote of No Confidence period, which begins early next year.