THE long-running corruption saga engulfing the Papua New Guinea’s leadership came to a head in April when the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate (NFACD) locked horns with high-profile government figures, including the Attorney General and Prime Minister Peter O’Neill. Headed up by Chief Superintendent Matthew Damaru, the NFACD is the chief anti-corruption agency in Papua New Guinea, operating as a police agency within the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary. During April, the NFACD exploded onto the political scene by arresting Attorney General Ano Pala, Supreme Court judge Bernard Sakora, and the prime minister’s lawyer, Tiffany Twivey, for corruption, fraud, and perverting the course of justice investigations.
Justice Sakora, Attorney General Pala and senior lawyer for O’Neill, Twivy, have all been involved in court cases which in some way supported O’Neill’s efforts to keep the arrest warrant at bay. Justice Sakora was arrested and charged with corruption on suspicion of accepting payment from a company linked to law firm Paul Paraka Lawyers, to which O’Neill allegedly authorised illegitimate payments of about AU$30 million (US$22.81m). Justice Sakora had also earlier this year issued the latest in a series of injunctions and court orders preventing police from arresting O’Neill under a 2014 warrant. On April 16, Police Commissioner, Gari Baki, suspended Damaru and his deputy Timothy Gitua for insubordination but on April 18 a court ordered a stay on all current and further suspensions of NFACD staff.
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