15 Aug 2003

Samoa police chief says corruption a problem within force ranks

3:23 pm on 15 August 2003

Samoa's new police commissioner, Papali'i Lorenese Neru, says corruption in the ranks of the police is one of the biggest problems facing the force.

Papali'i made the claim on Televise Samoa while supporting an Australian proposal to train police from Pacific island states in order to fight corruption.

The new commissioner gave no examples of instances of corruption among the 300 members of the force.

But over the years, there have been complaints that money recovered from thieves has vanished while in police care, tourists being ordered to pay instant fines for alleged traffic offences and payments made to protect people from prosecution.

There was also the case of some 90 head of cattle vanishing from a police farm with senior officers implicated in the disappearance but not prosecuted.

The commissioner's comments come after a warning from Australian prime minister, John Howard, that nations receiving financial aid from Australia must understand that support is conditional on those nations working to deal with corruption.