By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
A PAPUA New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) senior officer has been suspended in connection with the probe on allegations of bribery in the force’s recruitment process, deputy commander commodore Philip Polewara says.
“The officer, who is attached with the recruitment and training branch, has been suspended for eight days to facilitate a joint-investigation by the military, Education Department and police,” he said.
The officer is alleged to have ignored PNGDF Chief Maj-Gen Gilbert Toropo’s orders to remove 22 probationary soldiers.”
Commodore Polewara said the soldiers allegedly used forged education certificates to join the PNGDF in the first intake of last year.
“When a joint PNGDF-Education Department investigation exposed the soldiers, Maj-Gen Toropo ordered the officier to remove the soldiers,” he said. “Unfortunately, he was suspected to have brushed aside Maj-Gen Toropo’s orders.
“So he (the officer) was suspended from duty on Monday pending full police investigations.
“He will be served his charges after his suspension.”
Commodore Polewara said investigators were cracking down on bribery allegations regarding the recruitment process.
“There are four more high-ranking officers to be suspended and the 22 probationary soldiers will all be referred to the detectives in Boroko Police Station to be investigated for allegations of using forged education certificates, bribery, malpractices and non-compliance during the recruitment process in the PNGDF,” he said.
“The soldiers who allegedly joined the PNGDF using forged education certificates were identified by the military-Education Department probe.
“The senior officers attached to the personnel branch at Murray Barracks and the training unit at the Goldie River Training Depot were identified by a military police investigation team.
National Capital District Met Supt Gideon Ikumu said Boroko detectives were waiting for PNGDF to surrender the suspects as they had already received a formal complaint from the PNGDF hierarchy at Murray Barracks and were on standby to conduct criminal investigations.
By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK