Contrary to what sacked Treasurer Don Polye, Finance Minister James Marape today maintained that Prime Minister Peter O’Neill, never issued instructions for the Finance Department to pay Paraka Lawyers.
Marape is defending the Prime Minister, because he claims that the Prime Minister rang him on different occasions, directing him not to make any payments to Paraka Lawyers until the Attorney General cleared the bills.
He also claims that the then treasurer, Don Polye, made some lump sum payment in January of 2012 to Paraka lawyers, without the Prime Minister’s knowledge.
Marape said when he assumed the role of Finance Minister in August 2012, he was presented with a bill of more than K36 million from Paraka Lawyers in October of the same year.
He said he consulted Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill on this payment, and O’Neill instructed Marape not to pay Paraka Lawyers, hence all bills from this law firm were put on hold as of 31st October 2012.
However he said there was some money paid in January of the same year, when Polye was the Finance and Treasury Minister.
Meanwhile, he said there were four payments made after he put a stop in October, which happened without his approval in November and December of 2012, and March and May of 2013.
Minister Marape, says his statement today is consistent with the report he gave to the police earlier, when he was called in for questioning with regards to the Paraka matter.
He said after these payments were made without his approval, investigations had revealed who made the payments to Paraka.
He said Prime Minister Peter O’Neill rang him time and again; one in front of the Managing Director of MRDC, Augustine Mano, and PM’s Media Advisor Daniel Korimbao, asking Marape why he continually paid Paraka laywers, when he was instructed not to.
Marape said the next day, he asked his then treasurer, Don Polye about the payment, but Polye denied it.
Marape’s argument that PM did not sign the letter, is based on the fact that the Prime Minister was on his back continuously, against paying Paraka, and thinks he should have been directed by the Prime Minister to pay Paraka if the letter was genuinely from him.
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