CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill avoided arrest over a multimillion dollar fraud case when a court on Monday halted an arrest warrant issued by the South Pacific country's anti-corruption watchdog.

The warrant relates to allegations that O'Neill personally authorized the illegal payment of about $30 million in government money to law firm Paul Paraka Lawyers, Investigation Task Force Sweep chairman Sam Koim said.

O'Neill previously has denied the allegations, arguing that a letter produced by the PNG opposition as evidence that he had authorized the payment was forged.

O'Neill's office said in a statement late Monday that national Court of PNG had made an order preventing his arrest under the warrant.

"This continuing saga needs to be brought to an end, and in the correct way through the correct process of our legal system," the statement said.

It is not immediately clear how the allegations will be resolved in light of the court order.

A senior officer at Port Moresby Police Headquarters said a letter signed by Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga requesting a formal record of interview was delivered to O'Neill on Monday.

The officer, who declined to be named because of the political sensitivity of the case, said O'Neill was offered two potential appointment times on Monday, but failed to show up to either.

O'Neill was then asked to suggest a suitable time for the police interview, but had yet to reply, the officer said.

"If he doesn't come in, we'll be forced to bring him in," the officer said before the court ruling.

O'Neill told Australia's SBS News that the warrant against him was politically motivated. "There is a lot of political movement in the country," he said.

The Investigation Task Force Sweep, which O'Neill created in 2011 as part of his anti-corruption drive, charged Paul Paraka Lawyers in October last year with offenses including conspiracy to defraud, stealing by false pretense and money laundering.

The firm allegedly submitted fraudulent bills for legal work performed for the government.