25 May 2020
Papua New Guinea police have arrested former prime minister Peter O’Neill over the alleged purchase of generators from Israel without parliamentary approval.
O’Neill was arrested on Saturday at the main airport of Port Moresby, PNG’s capital, after returning from Australia, and brought in for questioning, assistant crimes commissioner Hodges Ette said in a statement.
The assistant police commissioner’s statement said O’Neill was accused of directing the 50m kina ($14m) payment for two generators from Israel without following the country’s public financial management law, without parliamentary approval and without putting the sale to tender.
The statement gave no further details about the generators or the identity of the alleged seller.
The statement cited evidence of “misappropriation, abuse of office and official corruption”.
On Sunday afternoon O’Neill blamed the current prime minister, James Marape, for the purchase.
O’Neill said the generators were bought to fix “longstanding” blackout issues in Port Moresby and Lae, and that Marape, then finance minister, authorised the exemption from proper procurement processes and approving the non-tender contract.
“We all know that this highly politicised case has been influenced and pushed by dark and shadowy figures behind the scenes wanting to force an arrest,” O’Neill said in a statement. “If police are truly independent, they should also charge Marape for not following process.”
By Helen Davidson, The Guardian, 23 May 2020
Read more at The Guardian
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