By MIRIAM ZARRIGA
POLICE Commissioner David Manning says the five firearm licences for Nawae Construction Ltd (in liquidation) in Milne Bay’s Alotau had been revoked after the expiry of the licences.
The firearms were seized from the company’s office and home of a widow who was arrested and charged with two counts under the Firearms Act and one count under the Migration Act last Thursday.
The 59-year-old widow from Cook Island’s Rarotonga had been staying illegally in Papua New Guinea after her visa expired last Feb 4.
The five firearms seized from the company office where she also resides are:
- SSB handi-rifle S/N: HH423985;
- RSA Ruger S/N: 23480774;
- RBA Lithgow S/N: 1520191;
- PSA Sig S/N: B265343; and,
- PSA heckler and koch rifle S/N: 127491.
Police had also seized 150 blocks of C-4 plastic explosives and 250 rounds of live ammunition of various calibres.
Meanwhile, in a letter dated Sept 8, to the Milne Bay police commander and copied to The National, the company’s principal owner Julius Violaris said the Luger 22 rifle, with a mounted Lithgow telescope belonged to a former employee who had received it from a friend in East Sepik’s Wewak.
“The firearm was stolen from the carpentry section of one of the workshops,” Violaris said.
“I advised the woman to offer a reward for its return and to hand over to police for disposal once it was returned.
“The detonators found in the safe were leftovers when the company was building the road from East Cape to the Northern side of the East Cape peninsula.
“We were blasting the rock to widen the road, and we had blasting permits which were issued by the Labour Department.
“We had licenses for a number of firearms, with various calibres, including 22, 9mm and shotgun.
“Some ammunition for these are in the safe.
“There may also be some ammunition that would have been in my flat.
“It was never my intention to be stuck (left stranded) in Europe.
“I came here last March to be with my family during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, thinking it would only last a few months.
“I would have cleaned out the safe as well as my private property.
“I understand that you want to get into the safe in Nawae.
“I will give you the combination (stated in letter) and you will also need the key to open it.
“Please, under no circumstances, allow any heat to be applied to this safe as it contains electronic detonators used for construction blasting.
“You have arrested (the widow, named)?
“She is not a criminal, in fact the opposite.
“The Rabe community and in fact, the Alotau community will vouch for her as she is known for many years.”