PNG fraud squad doesn't expect fraud case to be vetted

3:14 pm on 11 May 2016

The head of Papua New Guinea's police fraud squad says he doesn't expect to have investigation files for a major fraud case vetted by the police commission.

Matthew Damaru, PNG

Matthew Damaru Photo: Supplied

Mathew Damaru and his fellow Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate detectives have been allowed back into their office by the police commissioner Gary Baki.

Mr Baki locked the fraud squad out for three weeks after it made a series of high profile arrests linked to a major fraud case implicating the prime minister Peter O'Neill.

The commissioner accused Mr Damaru and his team of various administrative and discipline breaches, but was last week asked by the national court to reopen the fraud office to allow the squad to get back to work.

Mr Damaru said the fraud squad has resumed its work although it now has to submit all active investigation cases to a so-called "vetting committee" within the police commision.

He said he doesn't think the alleged fraud case involving Mr O'Neill needs to be vetted.

"For that one, I think we've gone past that. we've already made arrests and warrants of arrest have been obtained, so we've already gone past that, so I don't think that will be one of the cases that goes through that process."

The fraud squad secured an arrest warrant for the prime minister in 2014, but is stayed from arresting Peter O'Neill on that charge by a judicial review still before the courts.

Mr Damaru said their operations have resumed, although they now had to submit all their investigation files to a so-called "vetting committee" within the top police hierarchy.

"We are back to office, back at work. But with the new process in place, we don't know practically how it will work," he said.

"We'll just wait and see how it will go. And then over a period of time, I think we'll probably reassess and see whether it's working or it's not working."

The fraud squad secured an arrest warrant for the prime minister in 2014, but is stayed from arresting Peter O'Neill on that charge by a judicial review still before the courts.

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