PNG's O'Neill sacks corruption watchdog


A PNG court has adjourned injunction hearings into arrest warrant on Prime Minister Peter O'Neill for one week.

Court hearings into a stay application on an arrest warrant for Papua New Guinea Prime minister Peter O'Neill have been adjourned for a week, amid fears the government plans to scrap the country's anti corruption watchdog.

Lawyers for Mr O'Neill have spent the past two days trying to get a court injunction on the arrest warrant, which was issued over the weekend following a recommendation from PNG's anti corruption watch dog.

PNG's National Broadcasting Corporation on Wednesday reported justice Ere Kariko adjourned the matter to next Wednesday to allow police lawyers to seek further instructions from their clients.

On Monday it was revealed a police warrant had been issued for Mr O'Neill based on a recommendation from PNG's corruption watchdog, Task Force Sweep, amid allegations he authorised about $30 million in illegal payments to law firm Paul Paraka Lawyers.

Mr O'Neill has long denied the allegation.

On Tuesday Mr O'Neill said the warrant was politically motivated, and sacked his attorney general Kerenga Kua.

Mr Kua opposed the government's campaign to narrow the criteria of how prime ministers are elected following a vote of no confidence.

"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," Mr O'Neill said in a statement.

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.

When asked on social media if this was the case, Task Force Sweep chair Sam Koim indicated to AAP it was.

But he declined to answer further questions.

Police on Tuesday agreed to hold off on following through on Mr O'Neill's arrest until the court makes a decision.

But on Tuesday they renewed their invitation for him to front police headquarters for an interview.

Former Treasurer Don Polye, sacked by Mr O'Neill in February, called on the PM to front the police for questioning.

"The interest of the nation and the people, and very important constitutional, parliamentary and legal principles are at stake in the matter of the PM's involvement or otherwise in Parakagate," he said in a statement.

Opposition leader Belden Namah has also called on Mr O'Neill to stand down.

The government is expected to introduce legislation on June 24 to restrict prime ministerial candidates to members of the largest parliamentary party in the event of a vote of no confidence.

Mr O'Neill's People's National Congress has the largest party in PNG's 111 member single house of parliament, however his government is made of a coalition of parties.

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