THE Ombudsman Commission has confirmed that it referred Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to the Public Prosecutor for alleged misconduct in office after it had investigated allegations against him.
The commission said in a statement yesterday it investigated the allegations against O’Neill “which arose from his failure in upholding his duties and responsibilities of office as required under Section 27 of the Constitution and the Organic Law on the duties and responsibilities of leadership”.
The statement came as O’Neill expressed his disappointment over the commission’s decision to refer him to the public prosecutor, saying its final investigation should have been tabled in Parliament.
O’Neill said he should have been given “adequate opportunity to respond to the Ombudsman before they sought to refer the matter”.
But the Ombudsman Commission said “as required by Section 20(2) of the Organic Law on the duties and responsibilities of leadership, the commission notified O’Neill by a letter dated Aug 8 of its intention to refer the matter to the public prosecutor”.
“After being satisfied for the purposes of Section 29(1) of the Constitution and sections 17(d), 20(4) and 27(1) of the Organic Law on the duties and responsibilities of leadership that there is a prima facie case that Peter O’Neill has been guilty of misconduct in office, the Commission decided to refer the Prime Minister to the Public Prosecutor for his independent deliberations under Section 177(1) (b) of the Constitution,” the statement said.
The commission said the referral was in the hands of the Public Prosecutor who had “the discretion to bring or decline to bring proceedings under the Leadership Code for alleged misconduct in office in accordance with Section 177(1) (b) of the Constitution.” ONE PNG / The National