Suspension due to politics, says Hamago

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The National, Friday 25th November 2011

WEST Sepik provincial police chief Tobby Hamago has been suspended for “disobeying lawful orders”.
The action was taken against him last Friday by Assistant Police Commissioner in the Momase region, Giosi Labi.
Labi appointed Insp Michael Tilae to replace him.
Hamago was told of his
suspension “on a street” in Vanimo when a personal aide of Labi delivered his suspension notice to him around mid-day.
“I was suspended on claims of disobeying lawful orders,” Hamago said when contacted yesterday.
He alleged that his suspension could have been “politically motivated” because he believed some people were trying to “get their hands on the police in the province to win the elections next year”.
Hamago is the second commander in the pro­vince to be suspended in two years. Chief Insp Sakawar Kasieng was suspended last year.
Hamago said the pur­-
ported suspension stem-med from a decision by former commissioner Tony Wagambie on Aug 17 to have him transferred to Milne Bay and have the Milne Bay provincial police commander replace him in West Sepik.
However, Hamago said Wagambie’s contract ended the next day and his instruction was not considered by the new commissioner on the grounds that it was made by a former commissioner.
Hamago claimed that countless correspondence he made with the police headquarters to have his ticket, repatriation warrants and accommodation ready for his transfer were ignored.
“In September, director human resources Ivan Lakatani told me that there was no money budgeted for my transfer and that I have to make my own way to Milne Bay,” Hamago said.
He said it had resulted in him not moving until he was served the suspension notice last week.
“I think it’s unfair for the hierarchy to do this to me as I am not at fault but them,” he said.
Calls made to Labi yesterday to get comments on the suspension were unanswered.