Legal vortex grows around moves to arrest former PNG PM

2:39 pm on 13 November 2019

Papua New Guinea's former prime minister Peter O'Neill has lodged a criminal complaint against police minister Bryan Kramer.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill talks to the media as he visits the international media center, set up for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, in Port Moresby on November 14, 2018. (Photo by Saeed KHAN / AFP)

Photo: AFP or licensors

It's the latest twist in a growing vortex of legal action around an attempt by police to arrest Mr O'Neill over an alleged corruption case.

A lawyer for Mr O'Neill, George Lau, told local media the complaint alleges Mr Kramer forged an official arrest warrant.

That comes after Mr Kramer earlier this month accused Mr O'Neill's legal team of fabricating a defective arrest warrant document to put before the national court.

The court had been considering a review of a warrant issued for Mr O'Neill's arrest a month ago, before police withdrew the warrant.

Mr Kramer said Mr O'Neill's latest claim was false and misleading.

The minister said he had been briefed that Mr Lau has been arrested and charged by fraud detectives for offences of forgery and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Bryan Kramer.

Bryan Kramer. Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Koroi Hawkins

Mr Kramer claimed that police had discovered an alleged defective warrant among copies of court documents used as evidence that Mr O'Neill relied on to obtain an interim stay order.

Mr O'Neill appears to be citing that defective warrant, and the police decision to withdraw its warrant, as evidence of forgery by Mr Kramer.

He also accused the police minister of misusing his powers by directing police operations in this case.

Mr O'Neill, who was replaced as prime minister in May, said it was of great importance that the Ombudsman Commission investigate Mr Kramer's actions.

Mr Kramer said he was informed the decision to withdraw the warrant was based on legal advice on account that Mr O'Neill's lawyers relied on a fake warrant of arrest to mislead the National Court to grant a stay, and that it would be best for police to simply withdraw it to avoid the matter being dragged out in the courts.

He has indicated that police intend to pursue a new arrest warrant for Mr O'Neill.

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