Namah takes row to police

Main Stories, National

The National, Friday November 1st, 2013

 OPPOSITION leader Belden Namah has lodged a formal complaint with police against Prime Minister Peter O’Neill over the payment by the State of K71.8 million to a law firm.

In a letter dated Oct 29 to the Police Commissioner, Namah raised his concern over the manner in which the public funds were released.

He attached correspondence between the prime minister, Treasury Minister Don Polye and Finance Minister James Marape last year regarding the payment of the sum to the law firm.

Namah told reporters in Port Moresby that he delivered his letter of complaint yesterday to Deputy Police Commissioner Simon Kauba and director of the fraud squad Mathew Damara in the presence of assistant director Donald Yamasumbi at police headquarters in Konedobu.

“The formal complaint is for official corruption and conspiracy to defraud the state,” he said. 

“Therefore I have asked the police to investigate whether the letter of directive to pay million of kina was authentic as the Prime Minister has denied such a letter.”

He has asked police to investigate whether the directive from the prime minister was legal.

Namah said police had assured him that the investigations would start immediately.

No comment could be obtained from the prime minister’s office nor Kauba last night.

In copies of the internal ministerial correspondences produced by Namah yesterday, O’Neill had written to Polye on January 24 last year directing him to arrange for the payment of the outstanding legal bills to the law firm. 

On Oct 3 last year, Marape wrote to Finance secretary Steven Gibson to release a special warrant to “enable the payments to be effected”.

On Oct 24 last year, Polye instructed Treasury secretary Simon Tosali stated “the Prime Minister is aware of these legal bills and has directed the bills to be settled”.

Namah claimed yesterday that Polye had earlier denied giving directives to his secretary.

Namah said yesterday O’Neill had been urging him “to produce evidence” on the corruption allegations against him.

“I am producing the evidence and the same evidence is now lodged with the police,” Namah said.