Papua New Guinea police seeking to arrest ex-PM O’Neill

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Peter O'Neill

FILE – In this Nov. 14, 2018, file photo, Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O’Neill gestures after inspecting the APEC 2018 International Media Center at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Papua New Guinea police say they have an arrest warrant for former Prime Minister O’Neill for official corruption. The acting police commissioner said O’Neill was in a hotel in the capital but refusing to cooperate. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Papua New Guinea police said Tuesday they were seeking the arrest of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for official corruption but the former leader of the South Pacific island nation was refusing to cooperate.

But Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported from Port Moresby that O’Neill said he was cooperating with police and looked forward to proving his innocence in court.

Police have released no detail of the allegations against a prime minister who led the country for seven years.

Acting Police Commissioner David Manning said in a statement that O’Neill had been found in a hotel in the capital Port Moresby on Tuesday but was not cooperating.

“Whilst I cannot reveal any specific details at this point in time due to the sensitivity of the investigations, I can confirm that police investigators in an ongoing investigation applied to the district court for the arrest warrant for Mr. O’Neill which was granted last Friday,” Manning said.

“The warrant was obtained upon the weight of the evidence brought forward by the investigators,” he added.

O’Neill resigned as prime minister in May following weeks of high-profile defections from his government to the opposition.

O’Neill said at the time recent movements in parliament have shown a “need for change.”

He was replaced by former finance minister James Marape.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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