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Public Prosecutor uses Powers to reopen Paraka Case

A formal request for an ex-officio indictment has been issued by the Office of the Public Prosecutor to re-open the Paul Paraka case.

Attorney General and Justice Minister, Davis Steven revealed this in Alotau this week.

"It is now entirely in the prerogative of the Public Prosecutor to make the assessment and the necessary decision as to whether or not to exercise its executive function in issuing the ex-officio indictment.

"What this means is that the matter now leaves the police prosecution and becomes a matter for the Public Prosecutor and the National Court to deal with.

"In the sense that if the Public Prosecutor should decide to issue the ex-officio indictment then the matter will be tried in the National Court and the prosecution will be conducted by an officer of the Public Prosecutor," Minister Steven said.

He explains that when the Committal Court ordered the case to be discontinued last year, it did not necessarily mean it was over, and it can be re-opened.

This process has occurred.

Principal of the Paul Paraka Lawyers has been in court since 2014 when charges were laid against him by the then Task Force Sweep.

In December last year the Committal Court ordered the case be discontinued.

Charges in the matter relate to payments made to his firm for legal services rendered to the government between 2007 to 2013.

They include conspiracy to defraud, stealing under false pretense and money laundering.

Minister Steve assures his office has been working quietly to make sure this and other public interest prosecutions and matters in public domain are being pursued in full.

NBC News - Priscilla Waikaidi

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