Fight continues for top cop post

Normal, Sports

The National,Friday 13 January 2012

THE court battle for the police commissioner’s post continues today after it was adjourned yesterday. The court was adjourned after it learnt of alleged threats issued by Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga to stop Fred Yakasa from attending the court hearing.
Waigani National Court judge Justice Catherine Davani summoned Kulunga to appear in court at 11am yesterday to explain the threat allegations. Kulunga told the court that he had not issued any threats or directives to policemen to stop Yakasa from attending court.
Outside court, heavily-armed policemen blocked off the road near the roundabout at the Somare Foundation Building and the road leading towards the court house and parliament.
Most of the officers were alleged to have been flown in from outside centres.
Kulunga later said the presence of police “was normal policing” and not to threaten or intimidate anyone.
“The additional police presence on the ground was necessary to deter criminal elements or anyone else from taking advantage of the situation.
“The judiciary process is there for all Papua New Guineans to bring forward their grievances and seek justice if they so desire and I will not prevent anyone
from seeking what is their fundamental right,” Kulunga said.
Yakasa and his lawyer arrived after the court adjourned and told reporters that the court had treated the matter in the right manner and they were happy with the outcome.
Yakasa said although there was a dispute in the commissioners’ post, the police force was intact and there was no division.
He said he was only seeking redress in court after his appointment as police commissioner was revoked.
Yakasa was appointed as police commissioner by the Somare regime while Kulunga was appointed as police commissioner by the Peter O’Neill regime.
It was now up to the courts to decide who would be the legitimate commissioner.
Kulunga later told reporters in a press conference at the police headquarters that he was the legitimate commissioner.
“At the moment there is only one commissioner of police and that is me. I am the commissioner of police operating from police headquarters. My appointment was made by the legitimate government of the day and it has been gazetted.” Kulunga said.