World

PNG police seek to arrest ex-PM O’Neill

By AAP Newswire

Papua New Guinea police have issued an arrest warrant for former prime minister Peter O'Neill on suspicion of "official corruption" but he refuses to co-operate, the acting police commissioner says.

The warrant, issued by a district court last Friday, stemmed from an investigation, but police have given no details of what O'Neill is wanted for, citing the sensitivity of investigations.

"The warrant was obtained upon the weight of the evidence brought forward by the investigators," Acting Commissioner of Police David Manning said in a statement.

A senior police official asked O'Neill, who was at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Port Moresby on Tuesday morning, to go with him to a police station to be processed.

"As we speak, he has refused to co-operate with police thus far," Manning said in the statement, urging O'Neill to make himself available to investigators.

But the ABC reported from Port Moresby that O'Neill said he was co-operating with police and looked forward to proving his innocence in court.

O'Neill quit as prime minister in May after seven years in the top job amid a wave of discontent over a perceived lack of wealth flowing from major resource projects and complaints about corruption, which he denied.

He resigned following high-profile defections from his government and was replaced by James Marape, who had quit as finance minister in April.

Manning said he was committed to looking into all outstanding criminal cases of national significance, including high-level corruption cases, and would not allow investigations to be politicised "nor allow for people with vested interests to use the police for personal vendetta or a witch-hunt".

"Under my leadership I will not allow some of the reckless behaviours of the past where arrests were made without credible evidence," he said.

A spokesman for Marape was not immediately available to comment.