18 Dec 2006

PNG's acting police chief calls for inquiry into appointment of new police commissioner

6:45 am on 18 December 2006

Papua New Guinea's acting police chief has called on the government to review its appointment of a new police commissioner following weeks of infighting in the force over the top job.

Acting Commissioner ,Fred Sheekiot said in a statement that PNG's cabinet did not follow proper procedures in appointing long-serving Deputy Police Commissioner Gari Baki as the new commissioner.

The AAP news agency says the senior police hierarchy has been bitterly divided over who should be appointed to the top job since former commissioner Sam Inguba completed his term and stepped down in September.

As senior officers jockeyed for the post, a tit for tat round of charges and suspensions ensued.

Mr Baki was suspended two months ago and has been charged with causing disaffection within the police force.

Mr Sheekiot said it was unprecedented for cabinet to appoint someone with charges pending against him.

He said the Police Minister and others were not present in cabinet when the decision on the appointment was made.