By PNG Echo
The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill’s case to stay an arrest warrant has been adjourned until 25th
The adjournment was in response to the newly-appointed Police Commissioner Vaki informing the court that he consented to the stay and the seeking of consent orders to that effect.
The judge was not convinced of the legality of the move and declined to sanction the consent orders which would also restrain police hierarchy from interfering with junior police investigation (pending the taxation audit) unless he was convinced (by the police lawyer Mawa) that he had the power to interfere with the police functions.
He gave him until the 25th to file submissions when the matter is due to be back before the courts. Interim orders stay until then – there will be no arrests in that time.
Fighting on both fronts
And while the legal wrangling goes on unabated, the political machinations run parallel.
Firstly, there was the appointment of the aforementioned Police Commissioner and his lawyer, a surprise sprung on Nicholas Miviri, the previous lawyer, who turned up in court this morning to find he’d been replaced. This mix up held up the proceedings for more than an hour.
Also, last night, there was the shock replacement of Attorney-General Kerenga Kua – a National Alliance strongman with the PNCs former Foreign Minister Ano Pala.
There are also strong rumours that the Prime Minister has ordered the disbanding of the Independent Task Force Sweep and the sacking of its leader Sam Koim.
The Courts, yesterday, refused an application by Mr Koim to join the proceedings. The Judge ruled that the police, represented in the Task Force, were adequate as plaintiffs.
And I doubt we’ve heard the last. But, can Mr O’Neill afford to turn any more powerful allies into enemies?
After all, once upon a time, Task Force Sweep did not have sufficient evidence to charge Mr O’Neill in the Paraka case – that’s until Don Polye, the disgruntled former Treasurer supplied it.
Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer is not a lesson that the Prime Minister of PNG is heeding. It may prove his downfall in a country where corruption has so far been a low-risk activity.