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O’Neill's K15m Sydney home; sells another for K30m

Chateau Pete
O'Neill's new Sydney pad, the architect John Amory-designed residence in Warrawee, Sydney

LUCY MACKEN
| Sydney Morning Herald | Edited

SYDNEY - The wife of Papua New Guinea’s former prime minister Peter O’Neill, Lynda Babao, has bought a K15 million house on Sydney’s upper north shore just months after a Point Piper residence that was previously home to their son was sold on the quiet K30 million.

The Point Piper duplex was linked to PNG’s former first family in May last year just days before O’Neill stepped down from the top job following weeks of high-level defections from the ruling party.

At the time it was reported by the Australian Financial Review that O’Neill’s son Brian was living at the Point Piper residence despite the property being owned by one of PNG’s richest people and one of O’Neill’s closest associates Sir Theo Constantinou.

Records show the three-level property on Point Piper’s Wolseley Road exchanged off-market last September but was only lodged in new owner Shi Wei’s name when it settled more than nine months later.

O’Neill returned from Sydney to PNG in May to give evidence at a corruption inquiry into the UBS loan affair in which the country’s leaders are accused of breaking the law in 2014 in approving a $US1.2 billion load from the Swiss bank. The inquiry is ongoing.

Upon his return he was arrested by police at Jackson's International Airport and taken in for questioning over alleged misappropriation and corruption involving the purchase of two generators from Israel.

He was later released on bail.

Ms Babao’s newly purchased K6 million residence is a six-bedroom, Hamptons-inspired home set on 1,800 square metres of land.

Comments

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Philip Kai Morre

The prime minister James Marape and parliament want to declare PNG as a Christian nation despite all the evils that exist at parliament house.

Former prime minister Peter O'Neill and some of his cabinet ministers brought the 400 year old KJV bible to PNG from USA hoping PNG would transform to a completely Christian nation with many godly people especially politicians.

This did not happen instead we faced problem after problem, going from bad to worse and experiencing hell.

Now Peter O'Neill and his family own properties worth millions of dollars in Australia and elsewhere, he should be arrested sooner than later.

Bernard Corden

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree:

https://pngexposed.wordpress.com/tag/justin-tkatchenko/

Chris Overland

I do not know what ex PM Peter O'Neill's salary was but I'd guess that it was unlikely to be high enough to allow him or his wife to save the many millions required to even put a decent deposit on a house at Point Piper.

For the benefit of Papua New Guineans unfamiliar with Australia's admittedly absurdly over priced property market, Point Piper is amongst the most exclusive and expensive addresses in Australia.

It takes an eye watering amount of money to buy a house there and so it is the effective preserve of the truly wealthy.

The cheap end of the market there starts at around $A2.5 million while the premium end starts at $A20 million plus.

There is no affordable housing in sight nor is it wanted by the residents who have paid megabucks for the chance to live amongst the truly wealthy 1% of the population.

So, having a home there is a signal to the world from a humble highland lad and/or his lady wife that he/she has arrived amongst a very, very select group.

I wonder if the PNG Tax Office has statutory powers that enable them to call upon people found to have unexplained wealth?

Surely Mr O'Neill and his spouse need to explain how he or she acquired enough cash to buy a Point Piper mansion.

Perhaps he or she is running a betel nut empire on the side or maybe flogging vegies down at Koki on weekends?

Perhaps some brave journalist in the PNG media might investigate this matter?

Oh, I forgot, the media don't pursue the truth in PNG, preferring to simply repeat whatever the government tells them to say.

What about the RPNGC? Is there any senior officer left who isn't either so intimidated or so compromised that they can afford to take a close look at this intriguing case?

I won't be holding my breath about the likelihood of justice being done, let alone being seen to be done.

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