PNG police accuse Aus govt of a 'pack of lies' over Manus case
PNG police say the Australian Government never told it staff accused of rape were being flown out of the Manus Island Detention Centre.
The PNG police says the Australian Government is being less than honest about its part in removing staff accused of sexual assault from the Manus Island Detention Centre.
An investigation is underway into allegations that three ex-patriates, who worked for Wilson Security, raped a local woman employed at the asylum seeker detention centre.
Canberra says it told the police it was removing the staff but Manus Island Police Commander says he was not consulted.
Daniela Maoate-Cox has more:
The rape is alleged to have taken place weeks ago but a formal complaint was only lodged this week after the woman who worked at the centre was approached by Manus Police. Police say they were not told about the removal from PNG of the employees of Transfield services, a subcontractor of Wilsons Security which is contracted by Australia to operate the Manus centre.
Manus provincial police commander, Alex N'Drasal, says Transfield conducted an internal investigation into the incident during which the three accused were flown out of the county. He says the police should have been told earlier.
ALEX N'DRASAL: They just want to have to do their internal investigation in the course [of which] they decided to send these guys away, I think and I believe they came to realise this crime was committed. Therefore they had to send these guys away so they didn't swiftly come to report it to the police station, they delayed [it] a little bit and it takes about two, three weeks until I then find out these guys have already flown out of the province and out of the country.
In a statement, the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection says it was not aware of any allegations of a criminal nature when it flew the workers home. It says it did not remove the trio to avoid an investigation and it told the PNG police that staff would be sent back to Australia.
AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT: Senior representatives of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary were briefed personally by departmental personnel regarding the decision to remove the Wilsons staff from the island and agreed with the proposed action, noting that there had been no referral from the PNG immigration and Citizenship Authority for any investigation... Indeed the Wilsons staff were removed with the full knowledge and agreement of the PNG police.
Commander N'Drasal says that is not the case.
ALEX N'DRASAL: Information that was provided by the Immigration Department of Australia was all lies, pack of lies. They haven't reported this matter to the police to investigate, they are hiding things away from us. They are supposed to report this immediately to us to conduct a formal police investigation. They did not consult us, I think they consulted the PNG ICSA, immigration officers, but they did not consult us.
Meanwhile, a political storm is brewing with the Prime Minister, Peter O'Neill saying the ordeal shows a lack of respect from the Australian Government towards PNG's authority. He told EMTV that the three Australians need to be returned to the country to face prosecution.
PETER O'NEILL: Who sent this particular person out of the country? Why was he not charged, they must respect the sovereignty of this country, they must respect our laws, they must respect our people.
Manus police say if the three are not sent back to Papua New Guinea, they will arrest managers at the centre for perverting the course of justice.
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