Disciplinary charges for 50 PNG Police officers involved in black Wednesday civil unrest 

David Manning

Fifty police personnel allegedly involved in the 10 January civil unrest in Port Moresby will be facing disciplinary charges, says Papua New Guinea police commissioner David Manning. 

The decision was based on an update from the director of internal affairs on Wednesday which indicated that there was enough evidence to file disciplinary charges against these individuals. 

“We will also be looking at those in command positions at that time (10 Jan),” Manning said. 

“We continue to hold those accountable and we will do so in a transparent manner.” 

He said the constabulary had its disciplinary procedures and throughout the process, there would be continued display of professionalism. 

“Just because they were charged does not (imply) an admission of guilt,” he said. 

“We will put forward the evidence we have gathered for those members.” 

He said the 50 police personnel would be given the opportunity to defend themselves against the allegations. 

“We’ve charged the police association president with criminal charges. 

“He is a member of the force and holds a rank of inspector of the police force.” 

“He (president) has been dealt with in our Internal Affairs process.” 

He added there was more to be done to returning the city to pre-Jan 10. 

“The police force is mindful that we have a long way to go in terms of reconnecting with the communities. 

“No doubt, we let them down,” he said. 

Manning told The National that “doing our jobs” was what was needed to restore public trust and confidence. 

He added that one way of supporting police in doing their jobs was the Government funded (about K26 million) the re-fleeting of vehicles at police stations in Port Moresby. 

“Of the 130 police vehicles bought last year, 24 have already been distributed to Port Moresby,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the suspension of assistant police commissioner Anthony Wagambie Jr has been extended for a further 21 days to allow the constabulary’s internal affairs to complete investigations into the 10 January civil unrest. 

Police commissioner David Manning said Wagambie, in charge of the Central and National Capital District command, had served his first 21 days “and it was recommended that he continues his next 21 days of suspension”. 

“Deputy police commissioner, special operations, Donald Yamasombi is heading investigations (into 10 Jan) assisted by assistant police commissioner, New Guinea Islands, Perou N’Dranou and the director of internal affairs,” Manning said. 

Assistant police commissioner for Northern, Peter Guinness, will remain in charge of NCD and Central. 

Manning added that deputy police commissioner Dr Philip Mitna who was acting police commissioner on 10 January “continues to be on suspension”. 

“We are committed to ensuring that we hold ourselves accountable. That is exactly what we are doing. 

“Internal Affairs will continue to run two lines of investigations – criminal and disciplinary,” he added. 

When asked if police personnel engaged in the state of emergency in Port Moresby had received their allowances, Manning said: “There was an administrative oversight as to who was entitled or not. Once they clean up the manpower list for those entitled to allowances, the operations support team will then facilitate payments for them.” 

Manning added that they had taken measures to ensure that the city has adequate security coverage during the “vote of no confidence” period.