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May 19, 2021
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PM Maintains Innocence

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Prime Minister Peter O’Neill maintained his innocence in the fraudulent payment of millions of public funds to Paraka Lawyers and deplored the manner in which a warrant of arrest was issued to arrest him.

He has directed the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to be headed by Justice Warwick Andrews.

 

He believes his arrest is politically motivated and is a result of the changes he made in government when he removed certain government ministers.

 

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill hosted a media conference today, backed by all PNC cabinet members and ministers and other coalition partners, including Deputy Prime Minister Leo Dion, as a show of solidarity.

 

He again denied signing the letter authorising the payment of millions of kina to Paul Paraka, and said that claims that his arrest were based on new evidence were all done by people with vested interests.

 

He says organizations and government departments involved in dealing with the Paraka saga have all compromised their roles and a Commission of Inquiry was needed to solve this.

 

He said the inquiry was crucial to build many institutions who have compromised their roles in the Paraka saga. He said even the Task Force Sweep team is subject to this inquiry as some of its officers and investigations have also been compromised.

 

Prime Minister O’Neill promised that recommendations from this inquiry will be presented to the Public Prosecutor and those found guilty, including himself, will be duly prosecuted.

 

He further said the engagement of Paraka lawyers was done years ago, even before he became Prime Minister, and no-one disputed the payments until he issued a directive on the 13th of May 2013 for this to be investigated.

 

Deputy Governor, Leo Dion, Enga Governor, Peter Ipatas, Trade and Indurstry Minister, Richard Maru, and NCD Governor, Powes Parkop, all expressed concern on the manner in which the Prime Minister was treated, saying proper protocols were not followed.

 

They also appealed to the media, including social media, not to speculate and to report responsibly.

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