BARNABAS ORERE PONDROS
THE assortment of deadly weapons that were seized by PNG Customs on Oct 25 were meant to be purchased by the police but the gun dealer did not ensure proper protocol was applied for the weapons’ transportation into the country, Police Commissioner Gari Baki said.
“I cannot speak for or on behalf of the gun dealer, but as the Registrar of Firearms, I can confirm that I approved the importation of the four semi-automatic firearms which the Constabulary intended to purchase,” Mr Baki said yesterday.
Mr Baki explained that the mandate was on the gun dealer “to ensure that all other relevant laws, such as Customs and Civil Aviation Regulations are complied with in the transportation of these weapons”.
On Oct 25, four high-powered Colt assault rifles, specifically for military use, and a 9mm Glock semi-automatic pistol were seized from a man arriving from the Philippines at the Jackson International Airport.
“At the time when The National questioned me, I did not have the benefit of a brief on the incident, either by police or by PNG Customs and I made my comments then believing that these firearms were being brought into the country illegally,” he said.
Mr Baki had said earlier that he was not aware of the bust and that he was not aware of the importation of the firearms.
“Information was later made available to me that the firearms were being brought in by ZD Industries, an authorised gun dealer, who has been the major supplier of weapons and ammunition in the country especially for the three disciplinary forces for the past 30 years,” he clarified.
He added that if Customs and CAA felt that laws had been breached in the transportation of these firearms, then they should take the necessary and appropriate actions.
Mr Baki also added that the proliferation of illegal guns is a very serious national issue and he was working closely with his minister “to making Papua New Guinea a gun-free society”.