Reuters International

By Jarni Blakkarly

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The head of Papua New Guinea's police anti-corruption unit has been sacked after arresting several high-profile figures close to the government, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The head of the police National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate, Matthew Damaru, was served a suspension notice at his house on Saturday morning, the ABC reported.

Officers from his unit last week arrested the attorney general and a Supreme Court judge on charges of corruption. A lawyer working for Prime Minister Peter O'Neill was also arrested on charges of perverting the course of justice.

"It has been a very notable week of arrests. There has been an upping of the ante and ... a very timely response," Associate Professor Sinclair Dinnen of the Australian National University said.

"This unit has sought to carry out investigations involving these very prominent people and suspending the head of that unit, that will severely affect the ability to do it's work."

Papua New Guinea ranks 139 of 167 countries in Transparency International's global corruption perception index.

(Reporting by Jarni Blakkarly; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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