PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill clings to power


Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has rejected calls to step down over fraud allegations ahead of the resumption of parliament tomorrow.

A chorus of former allies including former prime minister Sir Michael Somare and sacked treasurer Don Polye have called on him to resign.

“I do not have any intention to resign,” Mr O’Neill told the Post Courier.

“Polye’s bantering is nothing new. He’s been doing that since I decommissioned him as minister.”

An arrest warrant was issued for the prime minister last Monday over allegations he fraudulently authorised multi-million dollar payments to the Paraka law firm.

Mr O’Neill says the evidence against him is fabricated and accuses the Opposition of colluding with police to bring down the government.​

He has already disbanded the country’s Taskforce Sweep anti-corruption body, sacked the attorney general, deputy police commissioner and on the weekend suspended assistant commissioner Thomas Eluh.

“This is a sad day for the PNG constabulary and the country as a whole,” assistant commissioner Eluh told a press conference.

“As a career police officer I’m shocked by the actions of the prime minister by his actions and refusal to come in for the interviews and that he holds our laws, our courts and our state institutions and police in contempt.”

Sacked Treasurer Don Polye accused the prime minister of contempt of court.

“There’s a court order in place that no police officer would be suspended or penalised or terminated, especially those doing the investigations, and the court order also says the prime minister not be arrested before the substantive matter is heard by the courts,” Mr Polye told EMTV.

“For the prime minister to use his office to say, ‘You don’t investigate, if you do, I’ll sack you, or don’t come and arrest me or I’ll sack you, or if you do that, I’ll use the court system’.”

Tomorrow in parliament, Mr O’Neill plans to amend the rules on motions of no confidence to ensure whatever happens, his party stays in power.

Speaking on local radio, Mr O’Neill said a planned protest at parliament would not be allowed to go ahead but organisers say they will break the ban.

On Wednesday a court will decide if the arrest warrant against Mr O’Neill is valid.

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