PNG to seek Australia's assistance with fraud squad restructure

5:09 pm on 2 August 2019

Papua New Guinea's new police minister says he will be reaching out to the Australian Federal Police for assistance in restructuring PNG's fraud squad.

Bryan Kramer.

Bryan Kramer. Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Koroi Hawkins

The AFP has long-running links with PNG police, and the minister Bryan Kramer wants that to extend to his country's beleaguered police anti-fraud unit.

Mr Kramer said that in recent years, the fraud squad has been under-resourced and undermined in its ability to probe high-level corruption.

But speaking on FM100 talkback radio, Mr Kramer said the new government of James Marape has fresh resolve to fight corruption.

"With AFP now, we are having some discussion with them to see if they can come and improve the systems within fraud. My job is to clear the roadblocks, political roadblocks so that they can do their job.

"And so that will arrange for them to sit down and put in place some strict measures on their practice and protocols and procedures in carrying out their duties because if they don't follow the process then the arrests and or charges that they make will be thrown out of court."

Mr Kramer is aiming to rid the Fraud Squad of political interference which, despite efforts by its own personnel to continue its work, has hampered its investigations advancing to prosecution stage in recent years.

"My concern is that if they just go out and do arrests, if they get the arrests wrong then they are going to create a doubt and shadow over the fraud squad, that they have been politically driven.

"So, we have had discussions, the prime minister has also raised these issues, in terms of there should be protocols in place. Because you don't want outside interests starting to fund police officers to go and make arrests against their political opponents where there is no basis of arrest where it is not driven by the evidence."

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