11 Nov 2010

PNG police commissioner Baki sacked

4:29 pm on 11 November 2010

The Papua New Guinea government has sacked the police commissioner, Gari Baki, for allegedly misleading senior government members into releasing nearly four million US dollars to cover policing costs at the LNG project sites in Hela Province.

Mr Baki was dismissed two months before his contract expired, with long-serving assistant commissioner Tony Wagambie taking over in an acting capacity.

Earlier this month Mark Maipakai replaced the internal security minister Sani Rambi after similar accusations regarding the allocation.

But the dismissal comes after years of intrigue within the police and our correspondent in PNG, Oseah Philemon, says this is a key factor.

He says Mr Baki's original appointment in 2007 was controversial and there's been infighting within the hierarchy ever since.

"When Baki got appointed there was still this conflict that had been murmuring on for a long, long time and it just needed something to trigger it off and there it was, the opportunity came and he got suspended. Gari Baki's suspension, the LNG tension is just one issue. There has been a power struggle in the police force for many many years."