Kua has no confidence in PNG PM's probe call

4:56 pm on 29 June 2015

Papua New Guinea's former attorney-general says he has no confidence in a probe announced by Prime Minister Peter O'Neill into allegations of high-level money laundering.

The allegations stem from a secretly-filmed video aired by Australian broadcaster SBS last week.

In the segment lawyers in both Australia and PNG discuss how to collude with political leaders in PNG to shift stolen money into Australian bank accounts and real estate.

Kerenga Kua, who was sacked by Mr O'Neill last year, says PNG and Australia already have relevant agencies to investigate the allegations.

Mr Kua identifies five agencies which can and should probe the allegations: PNG's Ombudsman Commission can investigate alleged breaches of leadership code by politicians; alleged criminal acts can be investigated by the Taskforce Sweep Team, which has demonstrated capacity to deal with criminal issues, the PNG Law Society's disciplinary arm (PNG Lawyers Statutory Committee) should investigate any professional midconduct of lawyers, the conduct of of Australian lawyers needs to be referred through Australian regulatory authorities such as the Queensland Bar association and criminal matters in Australia can be referred to the Australian Federal Police.

"We don't need to set up a new inter-governmental committee. That will lead to nowhere as history has shown. It is just setting up a decoy to lead everybody down a garden path and then of course down the track, maybe one or two months, another new scandal will come and bury this one."

Kerenga Kua says the SBS revelations have plunged the reputation of the legal profession in PNG to a new low.

While saying that Taskforce Sweep is the best PNG agency to probe the alleged money laundering, Mr Kua however notes that the O'Neill government has starved the anti-corruption unity of funding and resources since the fallout from the Paraka Lawyers scandal last year.