Arrest of PNG fraud squad head called an abuse of power

11:09 am on 22 June 2016

Moves by Papua New Guinea's police commissioner Gary Baki to have the fraud squad head Matthew Damaru sidelined are being described as an abuse of power.

The comment from Mr Damaru's lawyer McRonald Nale came as the national court ordered a stay on the charges of abuse of office and deprivation of liberty against the fraud squad head.

This follows Mr Damaru's arrest by police internal affairs officers in relation to the fraud squad's arrest of Supreme Court judge, Sir Bernard Sakora, in April on suspicion of judicial corruption.

Mr Nale said the argument that Mr Damaru failed to consult the Public Prosecutor before arresting and charging Sir Bernard goes against the constitutional provision that police can operate independently.

PNG Police Commissioner, Gary Baki.

PNG Police Commissioner, Gary Baki. Photo: EMTV

After the Commissioner tried to suspend Mr Damaru and his fraud squad colleagues in May, Mr Nale said it was clear what was going on.

"The only thing I'll say is that what it goes to show is a demonstration of abuse of police powers. To arrest someone for doing their job, a total abuse of police powers," he said.

Meanwhile, the national court placed a restraining order preventing the police commissioner or internal affairs officers making further arrests of fraud squad detectives over the Justice Sakora matter.

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs