PNG's O'Neill secures stay order on warrant for his arrest

8:57 pm on 16 October 2019

Lawyers for Papua New Guinea's former Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, have secured a stay order on a warrant for his arrest.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill. Photo: AFP

On Tuesday, PNG's police commissioner David Manning said a warrant for the Ialibu Pangia MP's arrest had been issued and was related to "official corruption".

Mr Manning declined to go into specifics about the case, but said that thus far Mr O'Neill had refused to co-operate with police over their investigations.

The Ialibu-Pangia MP denies this, and his lawyers made an urgent application at the national court late Wednesday, with Justice Nicholas Miviri granting an interim stay on the warrant until next Monday 21 October.

Mr O'Neill described the investigation as a political power play engineered by police minister Bryan Kramer, his political nemesis.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Kramer told parliament the arrest warrant was related to allegations over funding of churches.

However, also speaking in parliament, the former prime minister denied all wrongdoing.

"For many years as we all know... many churches and communities right throughout the country write to prime ministers, ministers directly for funding to fund their communities, particularly health and education."

Mr Kramer raised various points of order while Mr O'Neill spoke, saying issues he raised in the house were matters being dealt with in relation to the arrest warrant and, as such, could not be discussed at this time.

Earlier, Mr O'Neill said the alleged corruption claims were false and fabricated by the Police Minister, and related to renovations to the Yangaum Health Centre in Madang, Mr Kramer's province.

Mr O'Neill was replaced as prime minister by former close ally James Marape in late May when members of his coalition government withdrew their support for him, prompting his resignation.

Festering corruption allegations were a feature of Mr O'Neill's stint of almost eight years in the role of prime minister.

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