Papua New Guinea’s government corruption watchdog has drawn up an arrest warrant for the Speaker of Parliament amid allegations over missing development funds.
But Taskforce Sweep chair, Sam Koim, says Speaker Jeffery Nape has yet to be served with the arrest warrant as investigations continue into Nape’s alleged misappropriation of 5 million kina ($A2.4 million) in funds.
Koim told AAP the arrest warrant was prepared on January 25 after investigators had trouble getting access to documentation that they say is relevant to the case.
But, he says, the team has yet to decide whether to use it.
“Let me put it this way, the arrest warrant was obtained on the advice that we will search him as well as arrest him on the spot if the documents are found with him.
“We have not approached him yet.
“The case is still ongoing.”
Nape has earned a place in history as PNG’s most powerful Speaker.
Having served as Speaker for the government of Sir Michael Somare, on August 2 Nape allowed a crucial vote of no confidence in the Somare government.
The vote allowed Peter O’Neill to form a new government with a majority of MPs.
The Supreme Court on December 12 ruled the process used to elevate the O’Neill government was unconstitutional, which in turn sparked a series of crises which culminated in a failed mutiny in January by Somare supporters.
The Port Moresby-based Papua New Guinea Post-Courier reports the missing 5 million kina came from a larger 30 million kina ($A14.2 million) Nape requested from the government in 2009 for an agriculture project in Chimbu Province.
The paper says a letter requesting the funds also implied Nape’s loyalty to then Somare/Temu government during a period when there was a rumoured vote of no confidence.
Nape could not be contacted for comment by AAP, however he is reported as saying the missing funds were never released to him and that he is ready to face the taskforce at any time.