The former Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea was arrested and transferred for questioning for alleged embezzlement and corruption in the purchase of two Israeli generators.
Police arrested Peter O’Neill Saturday at Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby on his return from Brisbane, Australia, where he had been stranded in the COVID-19 quarantines. He was later released on bail and will spend two weeks in isolation at home under the same restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
O’Neill ruled Papua New Guinea for seven years before resigning in 2019 after a series of resignations from his government.
Police said the investigation involves the purchase of two Israeli electricity generators for 50 million kinas ($ 14.2 million) when O’Neill was leading the country.
In a statement cited by Australian Broadcasting Corp., Police Hodges Ette alleged that O’Neill directed payments for the generators’ purchases without Parliament’s approval and without a bidding process. Ette said police believe “there is reasonable evidence of crimes of embezzlement, abuse of power and official corruption.”
Police attempted to arrest O’Neill in October on a different matter, but later dropped the charge when O’Neill challenged its validity in court.