Australia

Manus Island security contractor rejects corruption allegations

A security company handed a controversial $423 million government contract to provide services on Manus Island has rejected accusations of corruption.

Controversial security company Paladin has rejected suggestions its contracts with Papua New Guinea entities are "tainted by corruption".

Director Ian Stewart released a statement on Thursday - after a week of revelations about how Paladin won a lucrative $423 million Australian government contract.

The company provides garrison support and welfare services for Australia's off-shore detention regime on PNG's Manus Island, at a cost of $20 million a month.

The Manus Island Detention Centre.
The Manus Island Detention Centre.
Source: Abdul Mohammad

"We do not have any bad debts or failed contracts. We do not make payments that are not linked to a service," Mr Stewart said.

"We reject the notion in the media that any contract with a Papua New Guinea entity is tainted by corruption - we find this notion offensive."

Labor has asked the Australian National Audit Office to urgently investigate how Paladin got the Manus contract, which was handed to the company under a restricted tender process.

Mr Stewart said Paladin had been unfairly accused because there was confusion about the names of the companies involved.

He said High Risk Security Group - which was the original name of Paladin - is now an unrelated company.

"We understand there is some confusion in the media around these unrelated entities and any potential bad debts and failed contracts that may be attributed to them," he said.

Fiji minister for employment Jone Usamate with men hired by Paladin to work on Manus in Suva.
Fiji minister for employment Jone Usamate with men hired by Paladin to work on Manus in Suva.
Fiji Newswire

Mr Stewart also rejected reports local Manus MP and PNG parliamentary speaker Job Pomat was involved with the security deal.

"We recognise the speaker as a man of absolute integrity, a leader of his people and a respected clan leader in Manus Province," he said.

Paladin's deal was reportedly signed with Peren Investment, which is 60 per cent owned by three of Mr Pomat's brothers.

Home Affairs department officials this week conceded the deal was rushed because they needed staff to fill roles at short notice.

Home Affairs officials have defended a contentious $423 million Manus Island security contract.
Home Affairs officials have defended a contentious $423 million Manus Island security contract.
AAP

The department approached five other companies but they didn't the controversy that can go with holding a Manus Island contract.

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