PNG Opposition leader prepared for Police arresting him

Opposition Leader. Belden Namah
PNG OPPOSITION leader Belden Namah has challenged police to arrest him over an allegation, which he denies, that he misused development funds.
“If the police investigations team and the Task Force Sweep have been hunting me, then I’m here now so they can go ahead and arrest me,” Namah told a press conference at Parliament house yesterday.
Namah, who has been out of the country since May, said he had spent K9.9 million of log export development funds to build and seal a 12km road in his Vanimo-Green electorate.
Replying to questions at the press conference over the allegations, Namah said: “I used the money to seal a 12km road using the log export development levy through the Vanimo timber rights permit.  
“This is not public money. 
“The money belongs to the people of Vanimo and it has been rightfully utilised for their benefit.
“Police must look at the merits of the issues first.”
Namah said several projects such as the awarding of a contract to Chinese Railway Construction Engineering company to construct the 2015 Pacific Games village at a cost of K263 million rather than the original estimate of K173 million and the refurbishing of the Pineapple House for K75 million should also be scrutinised.
In June, the police fraud squad wrote to Namah requesting his presence at a police station for an interview over the allegation.
However, Namah’s office informed police that he had been out of the country since May 22.
Namah said in a statement in June that the funds were “lawfully applied through due processes and for the intended purpose, which is infrastructure development within the timber project area”.
“This is the action of a government desperately intent on silencing me from exposing corruption at every level of government,” his statement said. 
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill is also suing the Opposition leader for defamation over comments Namah made publicly, accusing the prime minister of profiting from government contracts, a claim O’Neill has denied.
A spokesman for O’Neill told The National last night that the suit was continuing.
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