Rogue officers taken off duty

Main Stories, National

The National, Tuesday 10th July, 2012

FOUR police officers have been suspended from duty following allegations that they were providing unauthorised escort duties to candidates.
Acting assistant police commissioner Islands Chief Supt Anthon Billie led an investigation team from the Kokopo divisional headquarters to Kimbe to round up the four officers.
Speaking from Kimbe yesterday, Billie identified the officers as Snr Insp John Allen Iara (station commander of Kimbe police station), Chief Sgt Geoffrey Kambania (rural police station commander of Hoskins police station), Const Alex Tokavai and probationary constable Richard Koipa.
He said the officers clearly defied the instructions of Police Commissioner Tom Kulunga that all officers must not use the constabulary’s resources to provide escort services to candidates.
Police have removed a police-issued .38 revolver in Iara’s possession.
Billie said Kambania went on the run and deserted his post at Hoskins.
Kambania  failed to turn up after numerous requests to be served with his suspension notice.
He was, however, nabbed at his residence early yesterday morning and served his suspension notice.
“A police-issued 9mm pistol was also withdrawn together with a court exhibit rifle with telescopic lens,” Billie said.
He said the four officers, despite earlier suspended verbally by the provincial police commander, continued to provide escort and guard duties to a particular candidate using police resources such as uniforms and firearms.
Billie said the officers neglected their duties in deciding to side with candidates.
“The officers have been suspended for 21 days and cannot perform police duties as their police powers have been suspended and withdrawn until the allegations are fully investigated,” he said.
“And, if there is sufficient evidence, the officers will be dealt with either criminally or through the
internal disciplinary process.”
Candidates had complained to the provincial police commander that the four officers were supporting, campaigning and escorting certain candidates.