Wagambie vows to ‘protect and serve’
Acting Police Commissioner Anthony Wagambie (left) and acting deputy commissioner Fred Yakasa talking to reporters and senior police officers at police headquarters, Konedobu, yesterday.
ACTING Police Commissioner Anthony Wagambie yesterday assured the nation and investors that the police force was stable and united in its mandate to protect and serve.
In his first media conference yesterday, a day after his appointment, he said police services would continue as usual.
In a separate statement, Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare confirmed the National Executive Council decision on Wednesday to suspend incumbent Gari Baki on disciplinary grounds and appoint Wagambie to act until further notice.
He said the NEC had also directed acting chief secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc to set up an independent committee to investigate Baki’s conduct as police commissioner within the next three months, including allegedly misleading the government to secure K10 million for LNG operations last month.
“I call upon the rank and file for recommitment and dedication to your assigned duties and responsibilities,” Wagambie, flanked by acting deputy commissioner Fred Yakasa and other senior officers, told reporters at police headquarters, Konedobu.
While the changes at the police hierarchy appeared to have gone without a hitch in the past 48 hours, the picture was less rosy in the provinces.
* Morobe, the Lae Chamber of Commerce and Industry said police had been operating without fuel and it had chipped in to help but had warned its members of upsurge in holdups in the miles area and cautioned those travelling in or around the area to take extra precautions.
* Mt Hagen, Telikom PNG had disconnected all telephone lines to the Highlands provincial police headquarters for non-payment of phone bills totalling more than K400,000. Communications with resource-rich Enga and Southern Highlands, including the LNG project, were also cut.
* Mendi, Southern Highlands police said they needed more money to effectively monitor the six-month, province-wide liquor ban where liquor-related offences were on the rise.