"We declare our first goal to be for every person to be dynamically involved in the process of freeing himself or herself from every form of domination or oppression so that each man or woman will have the opportunity to develop as a whole person in relationship with others".

- Papua New Guinea National Goals and Directive Principles

Monday, 8 November 2010

The Plot Thickens - Baki Faces Sacking

The National, 8/11/2010

POLICE Commissioner Gari Baki faces being sacked before his term expires next January.

Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare issued instructions to replace Baki soon after he removed Police Minister Sani Rambi from the portfolio to Labour and Industrial Relations.

According to documents made available to The National, Baki faces the sack for “misleading” cabinet in requesting K10 million for police operations in the PNG LNG project areas.

The documents showed that Sir Michael had written a letter to Public Service Minister Peter O’Neill to begin the process of suspending and removing Baki, and appointing deputy police commissioner Tony Wagambie as acting commissioner and Supt Fred Yakasa as deputy commissioner.

The reasons cited in the letter accused Baki of allowing the police force to run down and “there is a general breakdown in law and order”.

A separate letter, purportedly from the prime minister to Baki last Thursday, asked the commissioner to respond to the allegation that he had misled the prime minister and other senior government ministers into thinking that K10 million was urgently needed to ensure continued police presence in Kopi and the LNG corridor and that he had already withdrawn officers from the area.

Sir Michael stated that the decision to withdraw officers was in direct conflict with the advice he had provided and called into question whether Baki had adequately performed his duties as commissioner.

He stated that this was against advice provided by Peter Graham of ExxonMobil that the developer was providing all necessary support to police in the area which included transport, communication, fuel and additional allowances for police.

ExxonMobil stated that the government only needed to provide base salary, uniforms, weapons and ammunition.

“At this stage, it appears as though you have deliberately misled the government and I believe that these serious allegations amount to misconduct and wish to advise you that you have three days to respond to the allegations.

“Failing this, I will institute necessary disciplinary action in accordance with your contract,” Sir Michael stated.

It was unclear if Baki had responded to the letter from the prime minister.

But, police sources said Baki was well within his rights to ask the government for urgent funding because the work of police was a state responsibility, to be funded by the government, and the constabulary cannot be getting paid by contractors and be seen as private security guards.

“If the government is serious about the security of the PNG LNG project, and wants the constabulary involved in security operations, it must find the money to fund it.

“Receiving K2 million funding from ExxonMobil every month will make police look like the company’s security guards,” the source said.

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