Papua New Guinea’s ex-PM Peter O’Neill arrested over corruption

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Peter O’Neill, the previous prime minister of Papua New Guinea, has been arrested over corruption allegations after arriving again within the nation, based on police.

The arrest on Saturday at Jacksons International Airport within the capital, Port Moresby, was a part of an investigation into the alleged unauthorised buy of two Israeli turbines whereas he was in energy, Hodges Ette, Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary assistant commissioner, mentioned in a press release.       

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“There is reasonable evidence for misappropriation, abuse of office and official corruption,” Ette mentioned.

Police alleged that when O’Neill was prime minister, he had directed funds for the acquisition of the two turbines from Israel “without due consideration for procurement processes … without the approval by the parliament” and with none tender course of.      

The turbines price 50 million kina ($14.2m).      

O’Neill, 55, was nonetheless being interviewed by police however could be granted bail to endure two weeks of quarantine at his home, Ette mentioned late on Saturday

In the previous, O’Neill has denied related prices, labelling them politically motivated.    

The politician’s lengthy tenure resulted in 2019 and was marked by a string of corruption allegations, together with the acquisition of 40 Maseratis for an Asia-Pacific leaders’ summit he hosted – in a rustic the place few houses have dependable electrical energy.

He was compelled to step down after allies baulked at his choice to signal a multibillion-dollar liquefied pure gasoline take care of France’s Total and US agency ExxonMobil.    

Local communities had complained bitterly about not benefitting from related offers prior to now. 

After promising to resign after which attempting to cling to energy through the courts, he was in the end changed by his former Finance Minister James Marape final 12 months, who pledged to scrub up the federal government. 

“We have a government that wants to save the interests of corporate giants,” Marape mentioned earlier than taking workplace.