Former PNG police chief convicted over PM arrest

2:54 pm on 18 June 2015

A former Papua New Guinea police commissioner has been convicted on contempt charges for his obstruction of an arrest warrant issued for the prime minister a year ago.

Papua New Guinea Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki

Papua New Guinea Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki Photo: RNZI

Geoffrey Vaki was convicted in the National Court, found guilty by Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia for willfully disobeying and refusing to arrest Peter O'Neill.

An arrest warrant for Peter O'Neill had been obtained by the anti-corruption investigative unit Taskforce Sweep in conjunction with the fraud squad.

Mr O'Neill was wanted over his role in approving allegedly illegal state payments worth US$29 million to a law firm.

The prime minister refused to go in for questioning and before the arrest warrant could be fully served on him sacked the former police commissioner Tom Kulunga and replaced him with Geoffrey Vaki.

Mr Vaki subsequently ruled out an arrest, saying the case was not solid enough.

Last month, he was sacked and replaced by Gary Baki.

Mr O'Neill's legal team successfully sought a stay on the arrest warrant which is the subject of a legal challenge in a separate case.