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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Feb. 27) - A Papua New Guinea internal police investigation has found that 66 officers have been involved in some form of official corruption, including receiving money from Asian crime syndicates operating in Port Moresby, a senior investigator has revealed.

One of those to be charged but who allegedly went into hiding two weeks ago was Chief Superintendent Awan Sete, the director of Fraud and Anti-Corruption, who is facing three charges, assistant commissioner of police Raphael Huafolo said in a statement released last Friday.

Sete, from Morobe Province, is believed to be a relative of police commissioner Sam Inguba, and works in the same division as Huafolo.

"I and some of my most committed officers are taking a no-nonsense approach in dealing with corruption within the police force. Investigations that we have been carried out have so far resulted in 66 officers in the police force either served with departmental or criminal charges for their corrupt activities. Officers were charged for corruptly receiving money from Asian crime syndicates in Papua New Guinea that are involved in the horse race gaming machines. And involving themselves in business deals with these Asians undermine their roles as police officers," Huafolo said of the investigations which began in 2003.

He said police are investigating Asians connected with human smuggling, illegal entry, overstaying their visas, passport and identity fraud, illegal casino, prostitution, elicits drugs. They are also investigating their own officers who are associated with these Asians.

Of the charges against Sete, he said: "It is an irony that someone who is at the helm of investigating fraud and anti-corruption in Papua New Guinea is now wanted on charges of corruption. Three warrants of arrests were issued for his arrest for corruptly receiving free accommodation, free car and abuse of office with his dealings with Asians suspected of human smuggling," he said.

He said Chief Superintendent Sete went into hiding after warrants of arrest were issued by the Waigani District Court.

Huafolo said Sete has obtained a court order to restrain police from arresting him. The order was served on police last Friday.

He said police lawyers are seeking to set aside the restraining order so that arrest warrants could be executed.

February 28, 2006

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