30 Sep 2011

PNG Police Commissioner replaced

4:36 pm on 30 September 2011

Papua New Guinea's Police Commissioner Tony Wagambie has been sacked after his appointment last year was found to be questionable.

Local media reports that the government has replaced him with his former deputy Tom Kulunga who is to be the acting Commissioner.

Prime Minister Peter O'Neil announced the sacking, saying it was regrettable and through no fault of Mr Wagambie but had to be done in the 'interest of the country' and to ensure stability in the force.

Mr O'Neill says that the former Somare government had behaved irresponsibly in appointing Mr Wagambie without concluding the mandatory consultation process.

Because Mr Wagambie was due to retire next July, during the 2012 General Elections, the government feels a change of commissioner at that time would have posed a risk to the stability of the police force.

Mr O'Neill says if command and control of the Police Force was disturbed at that critical time, law and order and peace throughout PNG may be put at risk.