By REBECCA KUKU
DISMISSED Asst Comm of Police (ACP) human resources Sylvester Kalaut has been arrested for the second time this month, this time in relation to the death of Papua New Guinea’s most wanted criminal William Kapris.
Kalaut was arrested and charged by the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate (NFACD) on Sunday with one count of abuse of office and one count of attempt to pervert the course of justice.
Director Det Chief Supt Matthew Damaru said they were tasked by then ACP crimes to conduct investigation into the death of Kapris and Raphael Walimini in 2013 on the Hiritano Highway, Central, allegedly by members of the NCD special police task unit.
“The detectives from the NFACD pursued the investigations into the case and so far three police officers have been arrested and charged,” he said.
“Investigations by NFACD detectives revealed that after the first police officer was arrested and charged with murder of the two bank robbers and escapees in September 2017, Kalaut used his office as divisional commander and provided advice to deputy comm, operations, and commissioner to have the investigations stopped because it was detrimental to the RPNGC and State.
“He got the then police commissioner to issue instructions, exercising powers under section 197 and 198 of the Constitution, to withdraw the charges.
“Kalaut also took other steps to stop the investigation into the murder of two escapees, which included the removal of the court exhibits, and wrote to the police prosecutor to withdraw the charges against the police officer that was arrested and charged with murder.
“However, the court refused to have the charges withdrawn because there was no good reason or justification,” Supt Damaru said.
However, ACP Kalaut told The National yesterday that in 2013, he was in Madang when the two robbers were killed.
“Four years later, in 2017, when I was the ACP for NCD and Central, CID officers from NFACD investigated that case after members of Kapris’ family laid a complaint,” he said,
“They wanted to arrest three police officers from the NCD special police task unit, who were under my command. So in my capacity as the ACP and exercising my authority as the ACP, I wrote to the police commissioner who was Gari Baki at that time and recommended that the case be dismissed.
“Because, at that time in 2017 when they wanted to investigate the case and have policemen involved in the operation arrested, it was already four years gone.
“And the corona had closed the case. The only way for it to be opened again was for the attorney-general to order it re-opened.
“So no, I did not abuse my office as I was doing my job, exercising my powers through the office I held at that time. I also advised the Kapris family to consider taking the matter to civil court.”
By REBECCA KUKU