DOES Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s unrelenting claim that he is free of any wrongdoing in the Parakagate saga hold any water?
He has resolutely defended himself against allegations since the matter surfaced as a result of last year’s massive investigation into the Finance Department by Task Force Sweep and in the face of recent forensic test results that affirmed his signature on the authorisation letter was not a forgery.
O’Neill is adamant that the signature on the letter of 24 June 2012 that authorized the payment of millions of state money to Paul Paraka is not his. He claims that someone else signed the letter.
Yesterday, in the face of potential arrest, he accused TFS, police and the judiciary of collusion and politicisation and alluded to a plot to overthrow him from power.
The critical question is whether Peter O’Neill is telling the truth to the people of PNG.
In the minds of the people, and even Australians who have been closely following events, O’Neill is not telling the truth. This is evident in the avalanche of negative views expressed not only in the print, social media and in public places. There are genuine reasons for people taking this stance.
First, Peter O’Neill has never denied that the signature on the authorisation letter is not his. All he has been asserting is that the signature was forged. In other words he admits that the signature is a representation of his own signature.
Secondly, on the basis of the above premise, there is credence to the authenticity of the forensic test result. This is to say, there is a credible indication that the signature on the authorisation letter belongs to O’Neill indicating that he himself signed the letter and not another person as he claims.
If O’Neill thought that the result of the forensic test was biased or flawed because of collusion and collaboration between the investigative Task Force Sweep, police investigators, politicians and the TFS’s appointed forensic tester, then the most rational thing to do was to seek independent forensic tests of the same letter.
Without scientific proof that disputes and disproves the current forensic test result, how can Peter O’Neill prove to the people of PNG that the result was flawed and that he didn’t sign the said letter?
Thirdly, if O’Neill has not done any wrong, the simplest and most honourable thing he could have done was to present himself to the police investigators, answering their queries and clearing himself.
By doing that, he would have lived by what has always preached: no one is above the law.
Moreover, he would have not only cleared himself and maintained his integrity but upheld the dignity of the office he occupies.
Instead, his hiding from police investigators and running to the court to block and prevent normal police operations to uphold the law and ensure the administration of justice has cast a huge doubt over his claim of innocence and incorruptibility.
Fourthly, if O’Neill has done no wrong, there is no reason for him to fear Deputy Police Commissioner Simon Kaupa, former Attorney General Kerenga Kua, Task Force Sweep head Sam Koim and others who stand against corruption and seek justice.
Instead he has incapacitated them by termination and disbandment. His actions are indications of fear and desperation to conceal something.
Even if the proposed commission of inquiry or court clears O’Neill of any wrongdoing, never will the populace be convinced that he has not played a collusive and corrupted role in the siphoning millions of kina belonging to the 7.5 million people of PNG.
A free man does not fear and run and hide from the law. Only the one who breaks the law fears, runs and hides from it.