Morauta criticises Manus deal, Australian influence in PNG

11:27 am on 21 February 2019

A former Papua New Guinea Prime Minister says Australia may be unlawfully influencing the government through private security arrangements.

Sir Mekere Morauta

Sir Mekere Morauta Photo: Post Courier

Sir Mekere Morauta has issued a please explain to Australia over its decision to award $US300 million worth of contracts to Paladin Solutions.

The company, which provides services to refugees detained on Manus Island, has been subject to intense scrutiny before Australia's senate this week.

Sir Mekere, the member for Moresby North-West, claims Australia is unduly influencing PNG's electoral processes through its support of the government.

He says the arrangement with Paladin may also constitute "improper financial influence" on PNG by Australia.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Peter O'Neill told the Post Courier he will request a full briefing on the Paladin affair from PNG officials.

"We welcome any investigation by Australian authorities in the manner in which they issued Paladin contract was awarded to an inexperienced and unknown company but that is a matter for the Australian government," he was quoted as saying.

Mr O'Neill said "any transparent procurement process will not allow this to take place".

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