Commissioner Threatens To Remove Police From PNG Taskforce

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Taskforce recently implicated police officials in syndicate payoffs

By Simon Eroro

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Aug. 20, 2012) – Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) taskforce team "Rausim Alien" is now under threat of being disbanded.

The chairman of the non-government organization and Civil Society Coalition Against Corruption, Philip Kepan, is calling on Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga to resign for not supporting the taskforce as part of the O’Neill-Dion Government policy to fight fraud, corruption and trans-national crime in the country.

According to senior officials from the Foreign Affairs and Immigration department, Commissioner Kulunga’s threats to withdraw all policemen attached to the taskforce has not gone down well with certain Government Ministers and heads of key departments and agencies.

The taskforce is made up of members of Police Organized Crime Unit, National Drug Squad and Vice Squad and sanctioned by the former O’Neill/Namah Government’s National Executive Council to deal with foreigners conducting illegal activities in the country.

The Acting Director of Immigration, Mataio Rabura, denied any knowledge of the issue surrounding the taskforce yesterday, but confirmed he will meet with Taskforce coordinator John Bri.

Mr. Kulunga and his two deputies could not be reached for comments yesterday.

These events unfolded after the taskforce’s recent major discovery of confidential documents and payment vouchers showing payments made to certain members of the Police Fraud Squad (named), police prosecutors, Investment Promotion Authority officers (named) and a member of the Police Media Unit (named).

The members of the taskforce have also confirmed things were not well as certain senior bureaucrats and politicians have been troubled after a major syndicate involving certain foreign businesses and police was busted by members of the Taskforce after a raid on the premises of Tzeng Niugini Limited at Waigani village last week.

The raid followed intelligence on a suspected visa and work permit racket involving foreigners that led to the arrest and detention of Tzen Niugini managing director, Tang Eng Kwee and Rahin Bin (Malaysians) while female Mary Lou Fernades, a Filipino, is yet to be charged.

Mr. Kepan told the Post-Courier last night that Mr. Kulunga must not play down the issue by blaming the media for exposing what looks like hard evidence uncovered by the taskforce.

"Where does the Police Commissioner stand with respect to fighting corruption? What actions has he taken to remove the few corrupt officers who tarnish the good name of the Royal PNG Police Constabulary. We demand that you resign," Mr. Kepan said.

Mr. Kepan said the syndicate has been operating in the country for many years and those involved would have continued to operate if it weren’t for the former O’Neil – Namah Government that established the taskforce.

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