PM :Tells of investigations into fraudulent payments made to law firm

Prime Minister told parliament thatthe Australian Federal Police andInterpol officers have been asked to assistthPNG Fraud Squad and Task Force Sweep team investigate millions of kina paid to private law firms.

Peter O’Neill also announced thatthe Secretary of Finance Steven Gibson and his deputy have been suspended overthe same matter.

O’Neill madethese announcements following questions raised by Opposition leader Belden Namah about millions of kina being paid to a private law firm.

Mr Namah was gagged from asking this same question in parliament last Friday over a Court Order.

He stormed out ofthe parliament house whenthe speaker, Theo Zurenuoc refused to entertain his questions because of a Court order in place restraining debates or questions onthe floor regarding a law firm.

After legal clarification,the speaker yesterday allowed Mr Namah to proceed with his questions.

Mr Namah alleged that millions of kina were illegally paid to a law firm in a span of one year over unsubstantiated claims.

He askedthe prime minister to confirm ifthe government had any arrangements in place with this law firm to provide legal services on behalf ofthe state.

Mr O’Neill denlied having any contracts with this firm.

He saidthe only contract this firm had withthe government was terminated back in 2006 and he has taken action to hold this firm accountable for its actions.

He said this matter does not require anther Commission ofInquiry. Allthey will do is to carry out investigations andthey are ready to shut downthe Finance Department for a month for this investigation to proceed if need be.

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