Corruption-Related Political Crisis in Papua New Guinea

IMPORTANT: The full content of this page is available to premium users only.

Saturday, November 1, 2014
J.C. Sharman

On June 16, 2014 an arrest warrant was issued for the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Peter O’Neill in connection with a major corruption investigation. The warrant was issued at the request of Sam Koim, the head of the South Pacific country’s anti-corruption agency Task Force Sweep, and was approved by the Attorney-General Kerenga Kua, and the Commissioner of Police. In response the Prime Minister rejected the warrant as “politically motivated,” took refuge in the parliament building in Port Moresby with a force of armed police, and shortly afterwards dismissed Koim, the Attorney-General, the Solicitor-General and the Police Commissioner. The Prime Minister’s attempt to dissolve Task Force Sweep itself was defeated in the courts. The Australian government has taken a close interest in the crisis, given that it is the lead donor to Papua New Guinea and former colonial ruler, while Australia is also allegedly the host of substantial sums of the proceeds of crime from the corruption offences at the heart of the crisis.