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Situation close to anarchy

Tuesday 19 April 2016 | Published in Regional

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PAPUA NEW GUINEA – Papua New Guinea’s opposition leader Don Polye has called for Police Commissioner Gary Baki to stop victimising his officers and let the investigation into Prime Minister Peter O’Neill take it’s course.

“It is now game over and the prime minister must submit to the rule of law, which he had been evading for the last three years,” Polye said.

The arrest of the judge Bernard Sakora last week surprised many Papua New Guineans, as the judiciary has long been regarded as the most robust of the country’s democratic institutions.

The governor of Oro province, Gary Juffa, said the division in the force was developing into a dangerous stand-off.

“A population grows anxious and restless,” he said. “The justice system must move and move with as much haste as practicable. Failure to do so will lead to certain anarchy.”

A former prime minister Sir Mekere Morauta, described the pressure on the fraud case as “political interference of the worst sort”.

“It has added to the cloud of oppression and intimidation that hangs over Papua New Guineans, heightened by physical violence and threats of physical violence.”

Papua New Guineans, Sir Mekere said, expect the Fraud Squad officers to be reinstated immediately and be allowed to get on with the job.

Political commentator and activist Martyn Namorong said it was understandable that the fraud squad would be wary of informing the police commissioner of impending high profile arrests in its investigations.

“The fraud squad operates in an environment where their work has been undermined by politicians, current and former police commissioners, their own colleagues,” he said.

“And it is within such an environment where they feel that they cannot just divulge information about progress in their investigations, in my view.”

Namorong saw that a clear division had emerged within the police force.

“Obviously it’s related to political interference the police force. So that is the current reality unfortunately where one arm of the police wants to arrest and the other wants to prevent arrests from taking place.

“So it’s a really weird situation in PNG. But then, most situations are weird in PNG anyway.” - RNZI/PNC