PNG Corrections Official Slams ‘Bomana Brothel’ Claims

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Commissioner condemns allegations by demoted officer

By Moua Omoa

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 21, 2013) – Correctional Service boss Martin Balthazar has rebutted and condemned The National’s front-page story yesterday about Papua New Guinea’s Bomana jail becoming a brothel.

The commissioner told a media conference yesterday the report was very provoking to officers who were working tirelessly to recapture notorious criminals William Nanua Kapris and Raphael Walimini.

Balthazar said the March 24 Correctional Service (CS) report, referred to by The National, was "legally an allegation" and that the female officer involved was currently on suspension without pay.

He said the allegations, raised by a demoted officer were most disturbing and "can be very sensitive to some officers as most male officers at Bomana, as well as many female officers in other parts of the country, are hardworking."

The report, captioned "highly sensitive and confidential" is a compilation of all the correspondences on security issues which have gone to the management.

The correspondences were copied to The National and make the Kapris sexual affair in Bomana look tame by comparison as the instance reported in this paper’s front page story yesterday illustrated.

The demoted officer has complained that he has been badly and unfairly treated, as well as his warder wife, for raising sensitive issues.

Balthazar said yesterday: "I wish to outrightly condemn and rebut the poor level of journalism, as I was not consulted to give the department’s position.

"The article referred to an incident that had been investigated and the suspect arrested but police failed to lay charges under the Criminal Code because there was no evidence of sexual penetration at the time the arrest was made.

"My correctional institutions around the country are not brothels and Bomana jail is a good jail with bad staff, both males and females, and under my management we are trying our best with little resources to bring back discipline."

Balthazar said he planned to install a new management team at Bomana and improve its security.

"The management is going through a process of making staff changes at Bomana jail but officers are declining transfers as some have worked 20 to 30 years and feel like it is their private business, therefore not performing," he said.

Balthazar appealed to the public to cooperate with police and CS officers in their efforts to recapture Kapris and Walimini.

He cautioned people to be careful as the two escapees were armed and highly dangerous.

[PIR editor’s note: Meanwhile, The National also reports a "senior" CS officer was allegedly held at gunpoint at a Port Moresby guest house by Kapris' accomplices while he was engaged in sexual activities with a female warder. The accomplices then demanded the officer call Bomana to affect the release of Kapris, but the officer said this would not be possible. The female warder was then kidnapped and held hostage for a number of weeks. The same officer allegedly was reported for raping a female officer during a conference in Lae, but the incident was kept quiet and no one was disciplined.]

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