PNG Police Commissioner Apologies After Contempt Finding

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Kulunga had ‘with no intention to frustrate the courts’

By Jacob Pok

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, May 19, 2014) – PNG Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga has apologised to the court last Friday after he was found guilty of contempt of court by the Waigani National Court.

Mr Kulunga appeared before Deputy Chief Justice Gibbs Salika and made his plea before a packed court room. On Thursday, Mr Kulunga was found guilty of contempt of court for failing to comply with a series of court orders issued by the National Court in 2012.

One of the orders was for Mr Kulunga to reinstate former deputy police commissioner operations, Geoffrey Vaki. However, the court found that Mr Kulunga failed to comply with the court orders, which subsequently amounted to contempt of court.

While making his plea, Mr Kulunga told the court that his conduct was done in good faith and with no intention to frustrate the courts. He said he has a good record both as a citizen and a public servant and was a first time offender.

He told the court that he had a lot to do for the constabulary and the court should consider his plea. He told the court that he did not deliberately disobey the court orders and apologised for his actions.

After the plea, Mr Kuluga’s lawyer told the court that he would need more time to prepare his submissions on penalty and asked the court to adjourn the matter.

But before the court was adjourned, Mr Vaki’s lawyer asked the court to endorse the previous orders and allow Mr Vaki to take office. Justice Salika said the orders where still on foot and it was up to Mr Kulunga to comply with the orders.

"The orders of Justice Nicholas Kirriwom, in October 2012, still stand and it is up to Mr Kulunga to comply. Otherwise it might amount to another contempt of court," Justice Salika said.

He then adjourned the matter to June 2 for parties to make submissions on penalty.

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