Despite court order, PNG's anti-fraud unit ordered to close

10:01 am on 19 April 2016

A Papua New Guinea court has stayed the suspension of members of the police anti-corruption unit, but they cannot resume their work because the police commissioner has blockaded the unit.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill.

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Peter O'Neill. Photo: Supplied

The fallout over a major fraud case implicating the prime minister Peter O'Neill and several high-profile arrests last week has opened up glaring divisions in the country's factional police force.

The commissioner, Gari Baki, on Saturday suspended anti-fraud detectives who last week arrested the attorney-general, a Supreme Court judge, and the prime minister's lawyer as part of the case.

But the unit's director, Matthew Damaru, challenged the suspension in the court, which yesterday ordered a stay on all current and further suspensions of the unit's staff and allowed it to resume its work.

However, the police commissioner, Gari Baki, said he has not seen the court orders, and has ordered the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate to close temporarily.

Local media last night reported that officers loyal to Mr Baki blockaded the unit's offices and changed the locks, preventing the investigators from returning.

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