24 Jan 2012

PNG lawyer arrested over alleged bribery

2:50 pm on 24 January 2012

The police in Papua New Guinea have arrested a lawyer over an alleged bribe to replace the country's police commissioner Tom Kulunga, and are investigating two politicians said to be involved.

It is the latest development in a series of moves by the country's rivalling political camps to promote their favoured police commissioner.

Bridget Tunnicliffe reports:

"Sir Michael Somare appointed Fred Yakasa as acting police commissioner in December last year, after claiming he was still the prime minister despite an illness-related absence from PNG. But Peter O'Neill remained PNG's effective leader with the support of the police, the defence force and most parliamentarians. Fred Yakasa then lodged a court case to decide if he could reclaim the commissionership. His lawyer, David Dataona, has now been charged with attempting to bribe Mr Kulunga's defence counsel, by having them sign documents declaring Mr Yakasa the commissioner. A police spokesperson says two politicians are being investigated for allegedly colluding with Mr Dataona, but wouldn't comment on who they are."