SYDNEY – Papua New Guinea police obtained an arrest warrant against the country’s former prime minister on the basis of evidence allegedly linking him to official corruption, the police said in a statement on Tuesday.
The warrant was issued against Peter O’Neill on Friday by Waigani District Court, north of the Papuan capital, acting police commissioner David Manning said in a statement.
However, he did not reveal details about the charges as the investigation was underway.
O’Neill – prime minister between August 2011 and May 2019 – was located in a hotel in Port Moresby, but refused to cooperate with the authorities, according Manning.
“(O’Neill) will be processed by police after which he has the right to bail and defend himself in court,” he added.
In May, O’Neill resigned after his government faced a series of defections, with many leaders joining the opposition in order to present a no-confidence motion.
He was replaced by James Marape, who served as the minister of finance during O’Neill’s tenure, but resigned due to disagreements with the leader over a contract to develop natural gas reserves.
Papua New Guinea – an impoverished South Pacific nation with a long history of corruption – is rich in natural resources, including large gas reserves.
In past years, several political rivals had accused the O’Neill government of corruption and mismanagement in the country, inhabited by a population of around 7 million people.