Thank you Damaru, Toropo for services


I ACKNOWLEDGE two outstanding Papua New Guineans who served the nation with high distinctions in the respective disciplinary forces as career officers and gentlemen.
I came to know Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) Commander Maj-Gen Gilbert Toropo in 1986 at the PNG Defence Academy at Igam Barracks in Lae, Morobe.
Maj-Gen Toropo, with his peers, were senior officer cadets then while my peers and I were enlisted as junior officer cadets.
Each senior cadet was assigned to oversee and impart the military way of doing things to junior cadets placed under their watchful eyes, what was referred to as father-son relationship.
This included teaching junior cadets how to polish military shoes, strip and clean rifles, wash military uniforms with starch and iron, how to iron civilian clothes, especially gentleman shirts and long trousers, fasten neck tie and so forth.
Maj-Gen Toropo was the senior cadet who showed me how to iron my shirts and shorts, polish my shoes the military way and tie my neck tie.
From thereon, I saw a great future in him as a disciplined young senior officer cadet and knew he would graduate to become a military officer.
My peers and I marched him and his graduating class out in a military parade as second lieutenants in PNGDF that year.
I was not surprised to see Maj-Gen Toropo climb up the ranks to the highest peak as the commander of PNGDF.
He has revitalised the force as an operational combat force in terms of increasing manpower capacity, provision of specialised trainings, infrastructural modernisation and others.
The other fellow Papua New Guinean I wish to acknowledge for his undisputed loyalty and commitment to duty is the recently retired director of National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate Chief Supt Matthew Damaru.
The name Damaru is synonymous with combating all forms of crimes, ranging from white-collar corruption to stealing, robbery, and other fraud related crimes which require specialised investigative skills to investigate.
Chief Insp Damaru, former Lombrum Naval Base commander Clement Tale and I, in my previous capacity as director assessment branch in the office security coordination and assessment within the Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council, were sent to Hawaii, United States, in 2004 to undergo a comprehensive security training programme at the College of Asia Pacific Centre for Security Studies.
The programme was sponsored by the United States government and administered by the United States Indo-Pacific Fleet Command based in Pearl Harbor, Honolulu.
During weekends, Chief Supt Damaru would invite me to attend church services.
I came to know him as a committed Christian and a man of high integrity and principles although humble and down to earth.
After returning from Hawaii, he rose up the ranks.
Chief Supt Damaru and his men have done a lot to investigate and prosecute fraud and corruption related crimes throughout the nation.
Sometimes, your honesty becomes a threat to those in power and the chances of going up the ranks would be slim.
I believe Chief Supt Damaru has been denied that opportunity because of his honesty and fearlessness.
There are many people out there in the workforce, but few lay down their lives for their nation and others through deep commitments.
Maj-Gen Toropo and Chief Supt Damaru are uniquely exceptional citizens with exemplary standings amongst many.
May the Lord bless them as they retire.

Emmanuel Allen Mungu,
Former Civil Servant,
Son of Finschhafen