8 Jan 2014

PNG PM describes arrest warrants as political stunt

1:49 pm on 8 January 2014

The Papua New Guinea Prime Minister says arrest warrants issued for him and two senior ministers are part of a political stunt by the opposition leader to overthrow his government.

Peter O'Neill says his lawyers have successfully sought a stay order on warrants issued by the Waigani District Court for the arrest of him and the treasurer Don Polye and the finance minister James Marape.

Mr O'Neill says a police task force is now investigating the process in which the bench warrants and a court order were obtained.

He says he believes the opposition leader, Belden Namah, has collaborated with what he describes as rogue policemen to obtain the warrants and a court order outside of the normal lawful process.

"He's a person who has got a reputation in the country where he has tried to overthrow a legitimate government before. So this is not unexpected. So Papua New Guineans are not silly but unfortunately it attracts the wrong attention and gives a bad image to our country's judicial system."

Peter O'Neill says he is concerned because the magistrate who issued the arrest warrants has gone on leave and the court files are missing from the court house.