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Papua New Guinea Acting Police Commissioner Gari Baki will seek a restraining order in court after Police Minister Bryan Kramer directed him to stop work as the police chief from last Friday.
Baki said at the weekend that he was told by Kramer in a letter he had reached the compulsory retirement age of 60 and would have to cease as Commissioner of Police which had been reinforced by the recent Supreme Court decision.
He and his two deputies Raphael Huafolo and Jim Andrews were given their marching orders on Friday because of their age.
“This is arguable and I will seek interpretation from the court because the police force has its own provisions in the Police Force Act that says the limits on the Deputy Commissioners of Police and Commissioner of Police, I believe the Minister was referring to (were departmental heads) in the public service who are catered for under the Public Service Management Act,” Baki said.
He said he was appointed through an established process and he wanted to seek the injunctive orders from the court to prevent Kramer’s decision to remove him and his two deputies, Raphael Huafolo and Jim Andrews, from office until proper appointment process was followed.
Baki said Kramer’s actions had left a vacuum in the leadership of the constabulary, “leaving it leaderless and thus impacting the Bougainville Peace Agreement”.
“So, the whole process we have in the organisation is flawed, the two deputies and I were unceremoniously dumped, by the way we were treated was a slap in our face and an insult to our 44 years-plus service we have dedicated to this nation and the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary,” he said.
“The objective of the restraining order is to enable the government to follow the established process and procedures in the top three heads of the constabulary thus ensuring there is good governance, accountability, transparency, fairness and due diligence in terms of the process of appointments.
“The appointment of the Commissioner of Police is a constitutional office and as such due processes must be observed in the appointment process.”
Baki said due processes were not followed in the appointments of Bougainville Chief of Police Francis Tokura as Acting Police Commissioner, Assistant Commissioner of Police Northern region Peter Guinness, and Assistant Commissioner of Police Bougainville Joanne Clarkson as acting deputy commissioners of police administration and operations.
“The restraining order and the reason for going to the courts, as far as the senior officers and leadership are concerned; due processes and established processes of the appointments were not followed by the police minister,” he said.
“This action is not intended in any way to discredit the three officers who have been appointed.
“The appointment of the two deputies the process must be followed, I issued a gazette on July 5 announcing the vacancy of the two positions and calling for applicants for the assistant commissioners to apply the deadline of the gazettal is on the July 31.”
He said all applicants were to be screened by the police commissioner who then submits a shortlist of candidates to Cabinet through the police minister for its decision.
“Instead, the police minister and NEC decided to do selective appointments on the same day as the gazettal was issued, thus passing the process,” Baki said.
“I have instigated the process, and I have given the opportunity up until end of the month for ACP to apply, this has not been done, the consultation to be followed has been done by the Police Minister calling the candidates personally by phone and asking them to give their CV so that he can present them to Cabinet, that is what has transpired.
“When a new government comes in there is always a change in the police commissioners. Why should this be necessary?
“The police force is always loyal to the Constitution and is loyal to the government of the day. We cannot serve anyone else because that is our duty and we must do it.
“In the past 13 years we have had 13 police commissioners, six were permanent and seven were on acting appointments. If this continues, this Constabulary will never build a house,” he said.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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