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January 23, 2021
News

Temporary Closure of National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate

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By Theckla Gunga – EMTV, Port Moresby

Police Commissioner, Gari Baki, has ordered the temporary closure of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate (NFACD).

The announcement came on Monday night, just hours after the Waigani National Court handed down a decision to stay the suspension of the NFACD Director, Chief Superintendent, Mathew Damaru yesterday.

Baki said the court’s decision was the first of its kind and as the head of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary he has to take drastic steps to protect the integrity of the Commissioner’s Office.

The closure comes after the arrests of Justice Sir Bernard Sakora, lawyer Tiffany Twivey and Attorney General, Ano Pala.

Commissioner Baki told media personnel on Monday night that the directorate will remain closed until he sees accountability.

After Justice Allan David handed down the National Court decision, locks at the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate building were changed to prevent any fraud members from accessing the building.

The suspension means all fraud officers will report directly to the Assistant Crimes Commissioner, Victor Isove, who is the second defendant in the matter currently before court.

Baki explained that Damaru was suspended because of an unsanctioned fraud investigation that was conducted into the Eastern Highlands and Simbu Provincial Administrations.

However, Damaru’s lawyer Greg Egan informed the National Court yesterday in an exparte proceeding, that Crimes Commissioner; Victor Isove, had authorised the trip when he signed the invoice for the four investigators, directing the Police Finance Department to release over K3,000 for their travel allowance.

Baki claimed that the National Executive Council had approved more than K1.5 million to investigate the Provincial Administrator of Eastern Highlands.

On the other hand, there’s a court order in place that restrains the Police Commissioner or any RPNGC member from interfering with fraud officers from performing their duties.

Baki said he will get his lawyers to check the legal process used in obtaining the stay order, as this is the first of its kind.

Meanwhile, the substantive matter on the power of the commissioner to terminate or suspend a police officer will be debated in court on May 9.

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