DAMARU SAYS MORE HIGH-PROFILE ARRESTS TO BE MADE
Post-Courier – Monday, May 25, 2020
BY JEFFREY ELAPA
Several high-profile people involved in the purchase of the two Israeli-made generators at a cost of K50 million will be arrested.
Without going into details, director of the police national fraud and anti-corruption directorate detective Chief Superintendent Mathew Damaru said yesterday that several others would be arrested soon after former prime minister Peter O’Neill was arrested over his involvement in the purchase of the two generators last Saturday.
Chief Supt Damaru said Mr O’Neill was arrested based on a complaint lodged by Vanimo-Green MP Belden Namah on April 25, 2014, when he was the opposition leader then.
He said that last Saturday detectives from the national fraud and anti-corruption directorate arrested and charged Mr O’Neill, 55, of Kauwo village, in the Ialibu-Pangia district, Southern Highlands Province.
Mr Damaru said that Mr O’Neill was arrested and charged with one count of abuse of office, one count of official corruption, and one count of misappropriation of K50 million, the property of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.
He said it was alleged that in early December 2013, Mr O’Neill in a letter to the Acting Secretary for Treasury, Mr Dairi Vele, directed that he identified K50 million from the 2013 National Budget and have it transferred to the Bank of Papua New Guinea for the purpose of buying two turbo diesel generators for Port Moresby and Lae.
He said that the PNG Power Limited had been consulted on the technical aspects and had agreed to the purchase of the two generators.
Mr Damaru said police investigations revealed that late in December 2013, a K50 million cheque was paid to the BPNG by the Department of Treasury, was cleared and transferred to LR Group Ltd by the Bank of Papua New Guinea.
He said the investigation found that no proper procurement processes were followed as per the Independent Public Business Corporation Act 2002 and Public Finance Management Act 1995.
He said that according to the investigations, tax clearance certificate issued for the K50 million from Internal Revenue Commission was in the name of Israeli Electrical Corporation and not LR Group.
“There was no contract of sale for the purchase of the two generators,” he said.
Mr Damaru said after the K50 million was paid to LR Group, Mr O’Neill then sponsored a NEC submission for approval of K94 million for the purchase of two generators sent from the Israeli Electrical Corporation.
“NEC approved the K94 million and proper procurement process was followed,” he said.
He said the matter was then reported to the police national fraud and anti-corruption directorate for investigation by Opposition Leader Belden Namah that was followed by the police investigation.
He said at the conclusion of the investigation, a warrant of arrest was obtained for the arrest of Mr Peter O’Neill and he was picked up at the Jackson Airport when he flew into Port Moresby from Australia last Saturday.
He said he was interviewed, charged and was taken to the Boroko police station where he was placed in the cells and was granted bail by the National Court early on Sunday morning.