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June 22, 2021

Police Union Neutral On Impasse

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By Vasinatta Yama, EM TV – Port Moresby

The Police Union is neutral on the current impasse between Police Commissioner, Gari Baki, and the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Director, Matthew Damaru.

Union President, Lowa Tambua, told EMTV News today that Damaru’s suspension was an administrative matter, and the Police Union has no power to interfere.

Tambua made it clear that the union was silent about the impasse because it was not something for them to be involved in. He said the union would only be instrumental when the national security of the county is at stake.

Tambua also said the union will only stage industrial action if there is political interference in the constabulary.

He maintained that the Industrial Act binds them, and they have no authority to interfere with the administrative action of the commissioner.

While the union stands neutral on that matter, anti-corruption organisation Transparency International (TIPNG) has called on Commissioner Baki to reopen the fraud office, and refrain from giving instructions to police officers who are at risk of being charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Chairman, Lawrence Stephens, stated that TIPNG is aware of the work of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate.

However, he said that TIPNG is also aware that the administrative powers of police leadership are distinct.

TIPNG is calling on Commissioner Baki to retract his instruction, and reopen the fraud office. Stephens added that the office belongs to the citizens of Papua New Guinea.

The corruption watchdog is also seeking legal advice on court decisions made, and how office holders sabotage decisions.

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