Former PNG PM O'Neill denies fleeing country

5:25 pm on 4 November 2019

Papua New Guinea's former prime minister Peter O'Neill has denied a claim that he has fled the country to avoid being arrested.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

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

This is despite police last week withdrawing an arrest warrant for Mr O'Neill, after his lawyers had launched a legal challenge to its validity.

The warrant was issued for the Ialibu-Pangia MP at the Waigani District Court on 11 October.

PNG's Acting Police Commissioner David Manning said investigators sought the warrant in relation to a corruption case.

The national court issued a stay on the arrest while Mr O'Neill's legal team sought leave for a judicial review of the warrant.

But the Police Minister Bryan Kramer posted on Facebook that Mr O'Neill fled to Australia on Friday shortly before the National Court ruling on his judicial review proceedings.

However Mr O'Neill has rubbished this claim, saying he had flown to Sydney to be with his children.

"I have every right to travel and attend to my children's needs," Mr O'Neill told RNZ Pacific.

The MP has also denied Mr Kramer's claim that Mr O'Neill and his lawyers earlier fabricated a defective arrest warrant document to put before the court.

Bryan Kramer.

Bryan Kramer. Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Koroi Hawkins

Last Thursday after police withdrew the warrant, Mr O'Neill's lawyers argued against the move, saying police would just seek a fresh warrant to avoid the review.

The State Solicitor, however, argued that Mr O'Neill's lawyers were trying to delay the matter by keeping it in court.

The case was adjourned.

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