More Top Stories

Crime
Sports
Court

Alleged rapist in remand

27 April 2024

National
Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

PNG police boss ‘not rational’

Thursday 21 April 2016 | Published in Regional

Share

PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Papua New Guinea’s former attorney-general says the country’s police commissioner has become too emotionally involved in the ongoing fracas involving the country’s fraud squad and its investigation into the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill.

Almost two years ago, Kerenga Kua, as then-attorney-general, was one of the first officials to lose his job after the fraud squad served an arrest warrant against O’Neill.

He said the prime minister should front up and take responsibility for his police commissioner’s behaviour.

Police officers loyal to Police Commissioner Gari Baki locked down the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate office with chains on Monday, after the country’s top anti-corruption policeman Matthew Damaru was granted a court order to stop the Commissioner from suspending him.

Chief Superintendent Damaru told the rival police faction he had a court order to return to duty, but said they ignored him, and then threatened to investigate the judge who granted his application.

“We don’t care about the court order,” police blockading his office told Damaru during the lockout.

“You guys are staying out. We will investigate the judge who granted those orders.”

The police loyal to Commissioner Baki then called for reinforcements and a large number from other divisions around Port Moresby arrived at the fraud squad office.

Damaru and his officers had no choice but to back down.

“All roads lead to the Prime Minister’s office,” the former attorney-general Kua told the ABC in an interview.

“He needs to bring his police commissioner into line and advise him that the police commissioner is under an obligation to follow an order of the court,” he said.

“Right now, the prime minister is acting untouchable, and now his police commissioner has learned that behaviour is okay and he’s imitating that behaviour in trying to make himself an untouchable person.”

Commissioner Baki suspended Chief Superintendant Damaru over the weekend, purportedly over an unrelated investigation.

He denied the suspension was due to the fraud squad’s recent arrest of Attorney-General Ano Pala, Supreme Court judge Bernard Sakora, and the Prime Minister’s lawyer Tiffany Twivey Nonggorr.

But Damaru told the ABC the conflict does relate to his efforts to arrest the senior officials over a long-running corruption case with links to the prime minister.

“We are simply doing our job, fighting corruption at the highest level. Unfortunately our bosses don’t see it that way,” he said.

On Wednedsay night, Commissioner Baki called a press conference to explain the dramatic shutdown of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate.

“If the fraud squad are going around, as the way it is at the moment, they seem to think they’re untouchable within the organisation of the constabulary. I must put my foot down,” he said.

Commissioner Baki said the unit would be closed until the court proceedings were over.

“I’m taking this hard line because I want these officers to know that there is only one commissioner in this constabulary and that is me.”

Kua said the police commissioner’s appeared out of control and his emotions were clouding his judgment.

“Listening to his voice, he’s clearly distraught and emotional. He’s not a rational man anymore. Listening to him over the radio, he’s yelling and he’s screaming,” Kua said.

“In a time of crisis like this, you need your head of the police force to keep his head squarely on his shoulders, be calm, be rational, be cool, be composed, and talk sense and logic, because he leads a group of men that has important consequences to the nation.”

- ABC