Some clarification from the courts in Papua New Guinea PM’s ‘fight to the very last breath’ – part two
The controversy surrounding Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s alleged involvement in the ‘Parakgate’ affair continues. In a post published on this blog in early July, I provided a brief background of the issue. In particular, that post analysed the National Court’s decision on 01 July 2014, where it responded to four of the most important questions that underlie the current events:
- Was the arrest warrant against the Prime Minister valid?
- Should the court restrain the police from exercising the arrest warrant?
- Were the government officials and investigators ‘politically motivated’?
- Will the Prime Minister be free from any criminal liability if the legal bills are deemed to be valid?
In essence, the National Court of Papua New Guinea noted that: (1) the arrest warrant against the Prime Minister was valid; (2) the Court should not restrain the police from exercising a valid warrant; (3) the investigative officials were not ‘politically motivated’ and; (4) the Prime Minister may not be free from criminal liability even if the payment of the legal bills from the Paraka Lawyers is found to be valid.
This post gives an update on the three significant court cases that have happened since the National Court’s decision.
District Court’s Decision – 04 July 2014
Although the National Court was of the opinion that “there is a prima facia case in the interest of justice” against the Prime Minister, it recognises the Police Commissioner as having “ultimate control” of the proceedings (para 56).
Police Commissioner Vaki refused to effect the warrant to arrest the PM, insisting that he needed to review the investigation files. However, the Fraud office was reluctant to release the files to the Commissioner out of fear of its evidence being compromised.
Commissioner Vaki applied to the District Court to set aside the warrant, claiming that the National Court had …read more