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A war of words has broken out between the Prime Minister and opposition leader in Papua New Guinea, over the Ombudsman Commission's refusal to investigate a complaint.
The Prime Minister Peter O'Neill has questioned the commission's impartiality after it declined to investigate his claim that Belden Namah had spent US$20 million on candidates vying for seats in the 2012 election campaign.
Our correspondent in Papua New Guinea, Todagia Kelola, says the argument has stirred a lot of public interest.
TODAGIA KELOLA: Belden Namah this year did come out publicly stating that he had spent more than 50-million PNG kina from his own pocket to help some politicians during the 2012 elections. When he assisted them with the 50-million kina they were able to win the election and become Members of Parliament. Now the Prime Minister's office said that a letter written to the Prime Minister's office by the Ombudsman Commission clearly stated that the Commission was not interested in that case and that the matter should be referred to the Registrar of Political Parties.
JAMIE TAHANA: What did Peter O'Neill think was wrong with Namah's donations?
TK: Well because he came out publicly stating that he has spent 50-million kina ... the office of the Ombudsman Commission is the office that basically watches over leaders, and for a leader to come out publicly stating that he has spent 50-million kina from his own monies ... now the Prime Minister is saying there's going to be so much interest from the public as to where that 50-million kina happened to go to Namah who then spent it on the politicians, that's basically what the Prime Minister wants the Ombudsman Commission to investigate. Where did he get those monies from.
JT: But the Ombudsman Commission refused to?
TK: Well the Obudsman Commission, in a letter to the Prime Minister, clearly stated that the Ombudsman Commission was not interested in that case and that matters should be referred to the Office of the Registar of Political Parties and candidates.
JT: Is this a way by Peter O'Neill to take off heat. I mean he has been under a lot of pressure lately especially with Taskforce Sweep and their allegations that Peter O'Neill himself had dodgy dealings going on. Is this a kind of way to take heat off and put it on the opposition.
TK: Basically what Prime Mininster O'Neill is trying to say is that all leaders are supposed to be scrutinised and if they are to spend their own monies they need to declare that to the Ombudsman Commission. Now what the Prime Minister is basically saying is that the Ombudsman Commission should investigate and track the monies or where did Namah get 50 million kina to use.
JT: And Mr Namah did come out today with a press conference. Did he address where the money came from?
TK: Yes he did. He stressed he personally showed Mr O'Neill this logging company and businesses, that was when he was the deputy to Mr O'Neill and he said all of the 50-million kina was used from his own pocket, from his own businesses because the opposition leader has a logging company and business in his electorate so he said all that 50 million kina was from his own pocket.
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