By PNG Echo.
As this article goes to press, I’ve been reliably informed that the PM and his lawyers are still in court, presumably getting the arrest warrant stayed or overturned
When ABC Australia’s Liam Cochrane broke the news today that there was an arrest warrant out for the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in the Paraka matter, it sparked a flurry of jubilation in the social media as the pack that had been baying for the blood of the Prime Minister thought that this was their moment – their vindication – payback.
Cochrane’s article though was incomplete.
It failed to answer most of those six vital questions of a good news report: who what, why when where and how?
By using ‘passive voice’, where the object masquerades as the subject, Cochrane manages to avoid the question (in the first paragraph) of whose arrest warrant was served on the Prime Minister and who served it on him.
Was it from Task Force Sweep, or the Fraud Squad?
Did it have anything to do with the arrest warrant associated with Opposition Leader Belden Namah that was stayed following a court order and pending the outcome of the case a while ago? (The consent orders also covered the PM, Opposition Leader, Finance Minister and the then Treasurer.)
Which really brings us to the question ‘how’, if these consent orders are still in place could either of the agencies have attempted to affect an arrest? It also doesn’t answer ‘when’ this arrest warrant was issued which could prove to be vital given the litigation already in the courts.
In most contexts it wouldn’t matter but in the PNG context where there are competing agencies, (some true to their task while others not – some aligned with factions) it becomes vital.
A journalist colleague asked me this morning whether this arrest warrant was serious?
My answer was, if it has come from Task Force Sweep, it is deadly serious as they have all the evidence and would not take out such a warrant unless they thought they had an excellent chance of taking the arrest through to a successful prosecution.
If it is from elsewhere, I’m afraid I tend to agree with the Prime Minister that the warrant is probably politically motivated.
PNG Loop who is there on the ground believes that the warrant was issued last Thursday and that it had a covering letter from disgraced Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga – it was sent this morning. If that’s the case, it’s not from Task Force Sweep – but I wish someone would confirm or deny.
But in another twist, we’ve all seen the headlines screaming out “Jailed, Bailed and Knighted” and all in a weekend. They are talking, of course of Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga.
Well add to that – an arrest attempt on Prime Minister. Kulunga’s letter thus becomes a vital part of the question ‘what’?
Because, in this scenario, the Prime Minister fails to protect the Police Chief from the judiciary and the Police Commissioner fails to protect the Prime Minister from the law. (Kulunga and O’Neill have been said to be close.)
Are these warning shots being fired across the bow in a realigning of loyalties?
This case is more than the ‘facts’ – you have to understand the context.