Former PM O’Neill blames current government for ‘politicised’ arrest

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Lae generator
One of the two controversial Israeli electricity generators reportedly lying idle at the port of Lae, Papua New Guinea's second city. Image: MN

By EMTV News

Former Prime Minister Peter O’Neill says the National Executive Council of the then Papua New Guinea government approved the purchase of two heavy duty power generators for PNG Power to solve longstanding blackouts in Lae and Port Moresby.

The allegation against him is that due process was not followed to enable PNG Power to fix this the blackout emergency, he says in a statement.

O’Neill said the case was “highly politicised” and that it had been “influenced and pushed by dark and shadowy figures” behind the scenes wanting to force an arrest.

READ MORE: Other reports on the former PM’s arrest

O’Neill was arrested on Saturday when he arrived back in the country at Jackson’s International Airport after being stranded in Brisbane due to a covid-19 coronavirus lockdown.

He was questioned by PNG police and charged with misappropriation, official corruption and abuse of office and was released on K5000 bail.

O’Neill blamed current Prime Minister James Marape as he had been Finance Minister at the time and had allegedly signed the instrument exempting the process to allow PNG Power to enter into a contract to purchase the generators.

O’Neill questions police independence
O’Neill said if the police were truly independent, charges should be also laid against Marape for not following the process.

Prime Minister James Marape had recently posted on his social media page assuring the nation that the work of the police would not be impeded by him as Prime Minister in the face of many allegations, including himself.

He made the statement due to a purported copy of a Section 61 instrument being released into the public domain and allegations that he was a “player” in the saga.

Marape said he would offer his statements as a state witness and would never use the office of prime minister to stop or encourage police not to carry out their constitutional duties.

In relation to O’Neill’s arrest, Marape said the former leader was innocent until proven guilty.

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