NCD-Central Police Commander Suspended

Tuesday 16 January 2024

The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary has suspended NCD/Central Police Commander Anthony Wagambie Junior while disciplinary offences are investigated in accordance with Part IV of the Police Act 1998.

Acting Commissioner of Police  and Controller of the State of Emergency, Donald Yamasombi announced the suspension today, stating that it is the first of “potentially several more” related to the events of 10 January 2024, where members of the Police Force protested over the increased tax imposed on their salaries.

The protest resulted in several business houses were looted and burnt down by opportunists in the National Capital District.

The suspension falls under Part IV of the Police Act 1998 and will last for 21 days pending investigation by the RPNGC Internal Affairs Directorate (IAD).

“The people of Port Moresby and the country expect answers as to how the looting and destruction came about,” Yamasombi emphasized.

He pointed out that police leadership failed during the incident, with officers “abandoning their posts to attend strike meetings” and lacking proper discipline enforcement.

The Acting Commissioner noted that police strikes are unacceptable due to their constitutionally mandated role and the crucial duty they owe to the public.

“There are other means to address industrial issues,” he stated, criticizing the lack of proper procedures utilized on January 10th which left the city vulnerable to criminal activity.

Mr Yamasombi attributed the issue to a failure of leadership at the local level, stressing the responsibility of every commander to maintain discipline within their ranks.

He expressed his commitment to a thorough and impartial investigation, promising further transparency as the process unfolds.

This development marks a significant step in addressing the public’s concerns about the police response to the recent events in Port Moresby.

The IAD investigation is expected to shed light on the circumstances surrounding the looting and potential misconduct by police personnel.

Further suspensions and potential disciplinary actions are anticipated in the coming weeks.

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