Home > Corruption, Papua New Guinea > Paul Paraka arrested

Paul Paraka arrested

October 24, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Source: Post Courier

Prominent lawyer Paul Paraka has been arrested and charged by police and the Task Force Sweep yesterday over fraud allegations.

The principal of one of the country’s most prominent law firms, Paul Paraka Lawyers, which consists of 22 established branches around the country, was charged for multiple counts of fraud following months of investigations by Task Force Sweep.

The investigations were conducted into the law firm upon directions by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill on May 13 this year.

Mr Paraka was interviewed and charged with a total of 18 counts relating to an amount of K71.8 million.

He was charged with five counts of conspiracy to defraud under section 407(1)(b) of the Criminal Code Act, nine courts of stealing by false pretence under section 404(1)(a), two counts of money laundering under section 34(2)(a) and two counts of misappropriation under section 383(1)(a) of the Criminal Code Act.

Police said Mr Paraka was arrested in a dawn raid at Gavuone village, Kupiano, Central Province (about two and half hours drive from Port Moresby.)

MR PARAKA, who police believed has been in hiding after failing to obtain a stay order in court, gave in when police closed in on him yesterday morning.

It was alleged that Mr Paraka dishonestly obtained monies that he did not deserve, according to a statement by Task-Force Sweep.

Task Force Sweep alleges that when the law firm retainer agreement with the State was terminated on 2 November 20, 2006, the law firm instituted two separate judicial review proceedings.

Mr Paraka in those two proceedings, obtained orders for payment of outstanding bills totalling approximately K12.9 million. The State appealed those decisions and obtained stay orders from the

Supreme Court in November 2006 and early 2007, which effectively prevented any payment to the law firm.

It was alleged that despite the existence of the Supreme Court orders, the law firm still collected payments from the Finance Department but through other law firms and its nominee company, namely PKP Nominees Ltd.

It was further alleged that Mr Paraka did so to avoid the legal implications of the Supreme Court orders.

After he was interviewed at the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate at Konedobu and was formally charged, Paraka was taken to the Boroko police station cells to be detained. It is understood police refused bail.

Paraka: Arrest is political

Source: Post Courier

Prominent lawyer Paul Paraka says his arrest was politically motivated and he will fight it tooth and nail in court.

The owner of one of the biggest law firm in the country told journalists following his arrest yesterday that the allegations brought against him were the work of politicians with vested interests who were using police to arrest him.

He said his conscience was clear and he had nothing to hide, vowing to protect his reputation and integrity in court.

He said his arrest was regrettable as he had court proceedings on foot before the Supreme Court that could have assisted police investigations administratively and not through the criminal process.

“I will present my case in court and have my say, now that the criminal process is in motion,” Paraka said.

“There is nothing sinister about the payments made to my law firm for services rendered to the State.

“A law firm with operations covering the entire nation would naturally have huge operational costs.

Likewise individual legal bills for about 100 plus lawyers over the years would be equally high as well.

“Our bills are no exceptions. And because the State could not pay us out in full, we invoiced the State and received payments in installments when funds became available.’’

He also brushed aside assertions that he had been in hiding or evading police arrest and said that he had only wanted to stall police investigations and subsequently defer his arrest to give the courts time to determine the substantive proceedings he had filed.

Mr Paraka said he would exhaust every available avenue to safeguard and protect his reputation and integrity which he has built over the past 20 years.

He said the string of court actions he had filed related to the protection of his constitutional rights and was not about having the “same case to all the courts” as described in recent media reports.

“It is about my reputation and integrity that I have built over a period of 20 years as a lawyer and businessman. It is about the livelihood and the daily upkeep of about a thousand employees and their families nationwide. It is about the survival of a nationally-owned institution called Paul Paraka Lawyers,” he said.

  1. Bush Kanaka Mangi
    October 24, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Its a bit messy and clouded here and no-one will know who is telling the truth; (PP, PO or BN). One interesting area is the letter BN tabled in Parliament saying PO signed to direct Finance to pay PPL …. the original of that letter will tell us the truth. If PO signed, then … there may have been some collaboration here … and PO is covering up. And I hope PP will be tough to tell the Nation the truth, and how PO is or was part of that letter and under what arrangements for the signature to get onto that letter. iam sure many people want to know the truth.

  2. IAN K
    October 25, 2013 at 1:04 am

    exactly, the origin of that letter is the key here. So far Oneil has not strongly denied it although he said some months back in parliament that it was forged. If the courts prove that PO has definitely signed it then what a disgrace it will for PNG PM to have done that… if not then PP and his partners in crime [including pollies and beauraucrats] goes to jail for 20 years or so for stealing from the people..

  3. ian k
    October 25, 2013 at 1:10 am

    Motives and intentions becoming clear now – purposely trying to stall police work? so now he’s is helping the courts to give them time?? for goodness sake the courts want you to turn up and prove your innocence, not play hide and seek!

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