The head of a task force investigating political corruption in Papua New Guinea has lashed out reports that the Prime Minister is disbanding the watchdog, saying it will not deter him.
Task Force Sweep Chairman Sam Koim said it would be a grave mistake to dismantle the task force, which was responsible for issuing an arrest warrant for Prime Minister Peter O’Neill on Monday.
Mr O'Neill has denied the allegations he authorised about $30 million in illegal payments to law firm Paul Paraka Lawyers.
The arrest warrant has been stayed as his lawyers defend him in court.
Mr Koim said he was not surprised about the reported decision to disband the task force, but noted he was yet to be notified of any decision.
“It's all anticipated,” he posted on Facebook. “That will not deter us.”
Mr Koim said Papua New Guinea had to rid the country of corruption “before it rids us all”.
“The interest of the country must dictate our decisions and supersedes any individual’s interest,” he said.
“The country’s interest or they sometimes call the ‘National Interest’ is the interest of the common people of our great nation, not that of certain individuals who sit on the throne.”
Mr O'Neill issued a statement yesterday, stating that the warrant was politically motivated and sacked his Attorney-General Kerenga Kua.
"It is unfortunate that I've had to take this decision at this time, but I must do so in the interests of government and its stability," he said.
Media reports out of Port Moresby indicate the new Attorney General, Ano Pala, has been instructed to sideline Task Force Sweep, which was set up shortly after Mr O'Neill took office in 2011.