Manning's update comes in the wake of the recent decision by the National Court and highlights the continued efforts to bring all individuals involved in the corruption scandal, to justice.
He began by recalling the lengthy legal battle that started in 2013 when the initial charges of alleged fraud were laid against Paul Paraka. However, those charges were dismissed by the National Court due to an abuse of process by the State, failing to provide sufficient evidence of an illegal transaction. Similar charges were brought against Paraka in 2018, but once again, they were dismissed.
However, after a decade-long court battle, the National Court finally delivered its verdict on May 29, 2023. Manning revealed that Paul Paraka has been convicted of misappropriating over 162 million Kina in public funds. The court's decision not only highlights Paraka's involvement but also opens up avenues for further investigations into related matters such as fraud, money laundering, and additional instances of misappropriation.
During his address, Manning stressed the treacherous and corrupt nature of the scheme employed to divert public funds for personal gain. The Paraka case has garnered significant attention due to the staggering amounts of public money involved and the public outrage over the manner in which these funds were siphoned through the Department of Finance to various law firms and eventually to Paraka himself.
Manning emphasized that the National Court's decision is of utmost importance to the public and the people of Papua New Guinea demand a comprehensive investigation and prosecution of all those implicated in this corruption saga.
The Commissioner expressed gratitude to key individuals and institutions involved in the pursuit of justice, including the Prime Minister, the Public Prosecutor's office, the Department of Justice and Attorney General, the Solicitor General, and the dedicated members of the Fraud Squad. Manning assured the nation that the investigation is far from over and additional prosecutions will follow to ensure accountability.
“The RPNGC will do all things legally mandated and required in order to pursue, investigate, charge and arrest those involved, and to recoup all money lost in these illegal deals. The actions of corrupt individuals involved in this matter have caused terrible suffering to the economy of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, and welfare of our people,” Mr Manning said.