7 Jul 2015

Hopes jailing of former PNG police chief will spur change

5:06 pm on 7 July 2015

The head of Transparency Papua New Guinea says the case surrounding former police commissioner Geoffrey Vaki has highlighted several areas where action is needed to combat corruption.

Papua New Guinea Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki

Former police commissioner Geoffrey Vaki. Photo: RNZI

Vaki was last week sentenced to three years in jail on contempt charges for obstructing an arrest warrant issued against the Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill, last year.

His sentence is believed to be one of the highest ever for contempt in the country.

Lawrence Stephens says the case surrounding Vaki and the investigation into Mr O'Neill has a long way to go, but it has already highlighted several areas that can be improved.

"And there's a lot of concern that there is insufficient action and there is huge concern that people use the legal system to tie up the country in knots whilst they proceed to get away with what they get away with. But we do have hope that there will be changes as a result of the current verdict."

But despite the struggles highlighted, Mr Stephens says the sentencing of Vaki has given people confidence that justice can be done.

He says the investigation, conviction and sentencing of Geoffrey Vaki shows that the legal system works.

"All of which speaks highly of our system. It means the system can respond and does respond and it gives confidence to the people of Papua New Guinea that justice can be seen to be done."