By JEFFREY ELAPA
GOVERNMENT has sacked Police Commissioner Tony Wagambie, saying it is in the interest of the state and necessary for the stability of the police force leading to the 2012 general election, The National reports.
Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said the sacking was "through no fault of Wagambie" and accused the ousted Somare government of mishandling the appointment in the first place.
O'Neill yesterday said the decision by the National Executive Council to remove Wagambie was not politically motivated.
Former deputy police commissioner Tom Kulunga will be acting commissioner.
Kulunga is an experienced police officer and was the deputy commissioner (administration).
O'Neill said he had advised the head of state to terminate the appointment of Wagambie in the interest of the state.
He said the revocation was done after full consultation with the public service commission and permanent parliamentary appointment committee.
He said the government's actions were absolutely necessary to ensure stability within the police force over the next 12 months until the general election was over.
The announcement followed the disbanding of the NCD fraud unit on Tuesday and the replacement of NCD central division commander Fred Seekiot and NCD metropolitan commander Supt Joseph Tondop.
Kulunga when asked to comment on the recent developments within the force, said he would not make any statements currently affecting the top NCD command.
He said he had learnt of the decision from news being relayed to him and was yet to receive an official notification from the government and head of state.
A senior police officer said Kulunga should look at issues affecting the police force such as the dis-
banding of the NCD fraud squad and the relocation of the top NCD command.
O'Neill said the former government had appointed Wagambie without concluding the mandatory consultation process with the appropriate constitutional institutions.
He said Wagambie was due to retire next July and his appointment was confirmed by the former government for only 14 months, contrary to the Police Act which required that an appointment must be for four years.
O'Neill said Wagambie's retirement meant a new commissioner would have to be appointed during the crucial stages of the 2012 general election.
He said such changes would most likely disturb the command and control of the police force at a most critical time.
He said he could not put at risk law and order and the peace in the country during the elections due to a change of command and control in the police force.
O'Neill said Wagambie's contract entitlements would be paid out so that he did not lose out on remuneration prior to his retirement next July.
He said cabinet had also directed that names of suitable candidates be submitted to it for perusal.