Prime Minister Announces Commission of Inquiry  RPNGC  Operations

Thursday 25 January 2024

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape,  has announced the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry into the entire operations of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary.

 The announcement follows a crucial National Executive Council meeting held earlier  on Wednesday 24 January on the eve of the State of Emergency (SOE) lapsing at midnight  today (25 January).

 Prime Minister Marape emphasised that while the SOE will lapse, special callout operations for police from outside of Port Moresby and PNG Defence Force soldiers will persist.

The Prime Minister highlighted ongoing legislative efforts to empower soldiers to intervene in the absence of police, ensuring the maintenance of law and order, as witnessed on January 10, 2024.

Additionally, Prime Minister Marape reinstated suspended Police Commissioner David Manning and suspended Personnel Management Secretary Taies Sansan.

However, Deputy Police Commissioner Dr. Phillip Mitne, who served as Acting Police Commissioner on January 10, has been suspended.

The decision to suspend Manning, Sansan, Finance Secretary Sam Penias, and Treasury Secretary Andrew Oaeke was made pending a comprehensive investigation into the events leading to the disturbances of January 10, 2024.

While Penias and Oaeke remain suspended, Prime Minister Marape addressed the preliminary reports on the incident in   Cabinet session on Wednesday 24 January.

“Cabinet has reviewed the preliminary reports on the regrettable incident of January 10,” Prime Minister Marape stated. “The reports have underscored the need to strengthen police systems.

“We are initiating a Commission of Inquiry to scrutinise the entire operations, structure, and functionality of police operations.

“The Minister for Justice and Attorney-General has been tasked with appointing a judge to lead the Commission of Inquiry into the comprehensive review of police operations.

“Police Commissioner David Manning, who was away from Port Moresby on January 10 and subsequently suspended, has been reinstated.

“Department of Personnel Management Secretary Taies Sansan has also been reinstated, while Finance Secretary Sam Penias and Treasury Secretary Andrew Oaeke remain suspended as we investigate the administration of the 2024 Budget.

“Commissioner Manning has received clear instructions that there must never be another incident of breakdown in command as witnessed on January 10.

 “A thorough investigation is ongoing and will determine the involvement of individuals. “The Government views this as an opportunity to enhance the efficiency of the Police force.

“I want to assure Police rank-and-file and command that if you were not involved in breaking the law, there is nothing to fear.

“Those found guilty of breaking the law will face appropriate penalties. “The country is greater than any one of us; the rule of law must prevail, and those entrusted with policing the law must fulfill their duty at all times.”