The National, Thursday October 24th, 2013
By BEATRICE BONAKOYA
PROMINENT lawyer Paul Paraka was arrested and charged yesterday in relation to allegations of a conspiracy to defraud the State of more than K70 million.
Paraka, principal of Paul Paraka Lawyers, was arrested by the Taskforce Sweep team at Gavuone village, Central.
- Five counts of conspiracy to defraud;
- nine counts of stealing by false pretence;
- two counts of money laundering; and
- two counts of dishonestly applying-misappropriation.
He was taken to the fraud and anti-corruption directorate at Konedobu, National Capital District, at around 11am where he was questioned by the investigating team for five hours.
Paraka was then taken to the Boroko police station at around 5pm under police escort, charged and detained in the cells.
The principals of two other law firms in Mt Hagen were arrested yesterday.
They are Kumuro Sino of Sino and Co Lawyers and Jack Kilipi of Kilipi lawyers.
They are alleged to have conspired with Paul Paraka Lawyers to defraud the state.
Paraka said he would fight the charges in court.
“I am not afraid.
“I will fight this in court.
“I know how to fight in the court room,” he said before he was led into the National Fraud squad office for questioning,” he said.
Paraka’s arrest came after lengthy investigation by the task force, which was ordered by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in May.
Task Force Sweep chairman Sam Koim said in a statement that Paraka remained innocent despite the serious allegations levelled against him.
“Through this criminal process, his rights are fully protected by the constitution until a court of law determines otherwise,” Koim said.
Paraka owns the biggest law firm in the country, with 22 offices and more than 2,000 employees, most of them lawyers.