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O'Neill launches new bid to prevent anti-corruption investigation

Peter O'NeillERIC TLOZEK | Australian Broadcasting Corporation

PAPUA New Guinea's prime minister Peter O’Neill has launched another legal bid to stop anti-corruption police from investigating him.

The PNG Supreme Court this week dismissed an appeal by Mr O'Neill and finance minister James Marape, which was preventing police from making further investigations or executing an outstanding warrant of arrest for both men.

The decision allowed police to potentially arrest Mr Marape and removed blanket restrictions on investigating or questioning Mr O'Neill.

But a separate order still prevented officers from executing an arrest warrant for official corruption for Mr O'Neill on a specific allegation he authorised allegedly fraudulent payments to a law firm.

Mr O'Neill's lawyers have now sought leave to make a further application under the so-called "slip rule", alleging the three-man bench of the Supreme Court made a "misapprehension of law".

The new application would ask the court to set aside the previous decision and that the court can correct mistakes or "slips" in a judgement.

The application listed six grounds for the previous ruling to be set aside, including that the court failed to accord natural justice to parties by not giving them the opportunity to make submissions on the grounds used by the Supreme Court to dismiss the appeal.

The application also said the court had made a misapprehension of law in its ruling about whether an interim injunction could be granted.

It wants the court to instead uphold Mr O'Neill and Mr Marape's appeal and maintain injunctions preventing police from acting.

A single judge of the Supreme Court must now decide if Mr O'Neill and Mr Marape may make the application before it can be heard by the Supreme Court.


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William Dunlop

KJ - Thanks for the editing etc. I have given my old vista the heave-ho but still have age to contend with: glaucoma, osteoarthritis, sleeping disorder, cataracts in both eyes removed but eyesight deteriorating. Plus lower lumbar degeneration.

Oh what I would give to have my steno-secretary again.

No problems, Bill. If our two GPs got together they could author a medical text book - KJ

Alphonse Yuiyal

Dear Prime Minister, Papua New Guinea is such a good country to go down in such a bad way if bankruptcy is just around the corner.

As the citizen of this country I do not want to see my country go down that path. So many things have been said and done over the few years since you have been in the highest office in this country, both good and bad.

It has come to a point where we the very simple and humble citizen of this country needs to not what is happening and the future of this country.

We don't need your court battles and your personal interest in whatever scores you would like to settle with anyone. Furthermore, any self interest or gain in any deal or negotiations.

The future of this country is of paramount interest not just to me but every single citizen of this country. We need an economy that is viable now and into the future both for the present and future generations.

As it is, now even yourself and your government understands that the country is in so much debt.

The details of this debt is unknown to us the simple citizen who sweats to pay tax to ease this enormous demands exerted by off shore entities in one way or another.

It is our longing wish that you put all court battles and your self interest aside and stand clear as the head of this state and let us know where the country is heading in the next 2 years or the next 5 years.

If you can not do this then it is every citizen's believe that you do not deserve to occupy the highest office in Papua New Guinea.

Michael Dom

New terms for political scientists:

O'Neillism, as in the ideology.

(We'll have to find out if there's IP rights issues for the use of this term with Col. Jack O'Neill of Stargate SG1.)

O'Neillist, as in adherence to, proponents for or actions following said ideology.

(Someone who lives by the sarcastic comments made by the character Jack O’neill on the show Stargate SG-1.)

O'Neillisation, action, methodology, conversion to or facilitation of the ideology.

O'Neill, as in 'on your knees, villains'.

(Villain is a term with several different meanings, all of which seem appropriate)

Chris Overland

It is not a coincidence that politics and religion produce the most egregious examples of sanctimonious hypocrisy.

Both professions require participants to espouse principles that are absolutes. No deviation from such principles can be allowed under any circumstances.

The stage is thus set for the inevitable fall from grace as politicians and prelates are, like us, mere humans and have all of our common human foibles and weaknesses.

Thus we periodically are treated to the nauseating spectacle of US televangelists, who have spruiked endlessly and vociferously about the "sins of the flesh", offering their snivelling apologies after being caught with a prostitute in a sleazy motel.

Or there is the high minded Senator, a proponent of stern Christian family values, standing for the office of President who, most inconveniently, forgot about his dalliance with a former staffer right up to the moment the scorned woman (it is almost invariably a woman) confesses all on 60 Minutes.

Most recently, we have the example of the now former Prime Minister of Iceland who somehow overlooked the fact that his wife stood to gain millions when the Icelandic government rescued its impecunious banks.

So Peter O'Neill is merely following in the inglorious tradition of politics: proclaiming lofty principles yet, all the while, somehow contriving to not live up to them.

Michael Dom's splendidly cynical tirade seems to sum up the situation quite nicely.

The only hope is that PNG's judicial system will, in the end, prove up to the task of obliging him to submit to an investigation of his affairs by the relevant authorities.

If it cannot, then I fear PNG's political culture will irretrievably subside into one of perpetual corruption, thus joining the growing number of failed states across the world.

Paul Oates

The real question that no one appears to be asking and then publically identifying is exactly who is paying for all legal obfuscation at a time when the national finances are reputedly at an all time low?

O'Neill has claimed that he is defending the position of the PM and not himself. If that is true, why not step aside and allow the investigation to proceed without it being 'tainted' over the role of the PM?

We all know about 'New Guinea time' but this example really takes the cake and the cake stand and cook as well.

Why isn't there an official complaint made about the complaint that everyone is complaining about? What's the Ombudsman not doing for example? Wasn't that the office set up in the Constitution to resolve impasses like this one? Surely the GG has to act if he is officially approached?

The matter is before the courts. We are reminded that the wheels of justice grind slow but they grind fine - KJ

William Dunlop

The only misapprehension is O'Neill's misapprehension and preconceived ideas on the state of Papua New Guinea. Gimme, gimme, gimme, like the dictator that he is.

Alexander Rheeney | Facebook

It is shameful conduct from the CEO of the country. How long does this matter have to drag on for before it's brought to a conclusion?

Michael Dom

Note O'Neill's political rhetoric about respecting the rule of law and his statements that the Supreme Court ruling was evidence of the 'vibrancy and independence' of the judicial system.

That statement was followed immediately by his slip application.

By making that statement O'Neill was creating the false impression in people's minds that (a) he respects the law and the judiciary, (b) he is not unduly influencing them or the outcome (c) his legal appeals are a 'test' of this legal system, not meant to avoid arrest, and (d) he is not really concerned about being arrested because he is not guilty.

O'Neill is exemplary of the finest ideals of modern Melanesian leadership.

Well done Ialibu-Pangia, PNG owes your electorate a debt of gratitude for giving us your half-son.

(Thanks Australia for the other half.)

Through Peter's "dynamic and visionary" (Roape, 2014) the country now also owes a great deal of money to the Exim Bank of China, UBS, IFC, and a few others.

But O'Neill's great gift of leadership his "dream when I when I was growing up in my village many years ago" (Roape, 2014) provided to this nation is something that can never be repaid in full.

O'Neill's services to PNG are many and varied. He has guided PNG through the NPF saga, provided for the political impasse of 2011, contributed to legal proceedings of the Parakagate scandal, and championed the disbanding of Task Force Sweep.

Among his many historical legislative successes he has enabled the reduction of parliament sitting days so that MP's no longer waste public funds, time and resources by discussing the national agenda.

In short, Prime Minister Peter Charles Paire O'Neill CMG (Pumpkin Eater Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers) should be knighted by the Queen.

And when he croaks, the Holy Church should beatify him - Saint Peter O'Neill, Patron Saint of Corruption.

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