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Papua New Guinea

Paraka continues court action to clear name

BY MICHAEL ARNOLD

FOLLOWING the exoneration of Prime Minister Peter O’Neill last month of allegations relating to the “Paraka Saga,” embattled lawyer Paul Paraka has vowed to pursue all avenues to also clear his name and seek restitution for damages to his reputation and business in the past six years.

Mr Paraka made the statement last Friday after the National Court refused his application seeking leave to review 11 decisions by the investigation taskforce sweep and the executive government between August 2011 and February of 2018.

In a short interview, Mr Paraka said that the application sought leave from the courts to revoke all decisions by the taskforce sweep team since August 2012.

The application also sought that all criminal charges and other actions instituted by the taskforce sweep team and the executive government within this timeframe be declared invalid, which would also subsequently nullify all criminal prosecution against Mr Paraka. However, presiding judge, Justice Oagile Dingake refused the application on the basis that the decisions in question had been executed up to six years ago, which far exceeded the prescribed time limitations on evidence tendered to the court.

In handing down his decision last Friday, Justice Dingake said that any applications seeking leave to subject decisions by the government under judicial review must be made within four months from the date the decision was announced.

Mr Paraka said he was not discouraged by the court decision and had already set his sights on alternative courses of action through which he may be able to clear his name. He is also currently pursuing a substantive case seeking damages and compensation against the State and indicated that he would seek orders to to have his criminal case dismissed at the district courts.

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