O’Neill said Patrick Pruaitch should have come out public while still in the government.
“In just a few weeks, we have seen National Alliance (NA) party members abandoning long-held and publicly stated policy positions and claiming that they had not been honest in their public statements while in Government,” O’Neill said in a statement.
“The former Treasurer (Patrick Pruaitch) has claimed that his financial powers as Treasurer were removed last year and that he did not make this public until after being removed from office.
“He has also suddenly changed his views on the Central Bank, changed his views on economic development in the country and claims that he defied legislation concerning government finance activities.
"These are not the words and actions of a leader, but of a person seeking political opportunity, and selling-out their reputation and credibility.
“During his three years as Treasurer, if he had problems with the advice of the Central Bank, why did no not say so back then?”
The PM further questioned claims by Pruaitch that are at odds with his speech to Parliament in November 2017 stating: “The Budget demonstrates O’Neill-Dion Government’s decisiveness to move the Government debt to GDP ratio onto a sustainable path while supporting development over the medium term”.
“Now the former Minister has discredited his own statement to Parliament,” said the PM.
“Did the former Treasurer mislead the Parliament in his 2017 Budget speech, or is he just playing politics now? He needs to answer this question to the people of the nation.”
Meanwhile, Pruaitch, who is the parliamentary leader of NA Party, said the party’s decision to leave the coalition was because of longstanding difference with the PNC –led Government of PM O’Neill.
“The official sideling of me, as Treasurer, just added insult to injury because the prime minister had already withdrawn all my financial powers as Treasurer in October last year in an action that was not made public,” Pruaitch said.
“The withdrawal of the Section 32 and Section 33 powers were contrary to the requirements of the Public Finance Management Act and, in effect, was an illegal Act.”
He also claimed the “government’s excessive expenditure and borrowing have put the country debt level at K21.9 billion, putting it in breach of the Fiscal Responsibility Act”.