Warrant Of Arrest Issued For PNG Treasury Secretary

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Police Commissioner incensed he heard of warrant from Facebook

By Miriam Zarriga

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, July 28, 2015) – PNG Police Commissioner Gari Baki has issued a directive for the warrant of arrest of Treasury Secretary Dairi Vele to be executed immediately and brought before the Courts.

[PIR editor’s note: According to a report on ABC News ‘n arrest warrant has been issued for Papua New Guinea's treasury secretary Diari Vele over allegations of corruption in the purchase of two Israeli gas turbines. ... PNG's anti-fraud squad said it will arrest the Vele, who is known to have considerable control over the day-to-day running of the country's economy, when he returns to the country. ... He is reportedly in Australia and will be going to Fiji for official government meetings. ... The corruption charges relate to the purchase of two diesel generators from Israel at a cost of $US24 million last year. ... The purchase was allegedly requested by prime minister Peter O'Neill to alleviate PNG's power shortages.’]

The issuing of the directives comes after Mr Baki was made aware of the warrant of arrest for Mr Vele on Facebook last Saturday, July 25. Mr Vele’s arrest warrant was obtained by Chief Inspector Timothy Gitua of the Police National Fraud and Anti-corruption Directorate (NFACD) at the District Court last Wednesday, without informing Mr Baki first, as a matter of courtesy.

On receiving confirmation of the case, Commissioner Baki directed and received a brief from the directorate head Chief Superintendent Mathew Damaru. Mr Baki said his concern as the commissioner is why there was a need to go to media on public matters which are supposed to be confidential police investigations.

He added that the actions of Mr Damaru and Mr Gitua undermined the integrity of the office of the Commissioner of Police.

"This is a serious breach of discipline and amounts to insubordination. In fact they are treating the office of the Commissioner of Police with contempt. Why wasn’t I briefed prior to the securing of the warrant of arrest?" Mr Baki said.

"Why wasn’t I briefed in the three days prior to my directive for the briefing after having read this matter on Facebook?" he said.

Mr Baki said that in light of these acts of insubordination by the NFACD who acted independently and without following protocols, and in the interest of protecting the independence and impartiality of the Constabulary, he had issued a series of directives.

He said that acting Deputy Commissioner Raphael Huafolo will lead a team to look into the operations of the NFACD in terms of past, present and pending investigations. "This directive is in view of the fact that there is strong perception that the NFCAD is heavily politicised and influenced and is not impartial in all matters currently under investigation.

"The team will also review the current arrangement between the NFACD and Task Force Sweep with the view to establish the current authority exercised by the Chairman of Task Force over current investigations," Mr Baki said.

"That there will be no more direct approach by members of the NFACD or any other members of the constabulary for that matter to the courts in obtaining a warrant of arrest without the express approval of Commissioner of Police."

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