Monday, October 25, 2010

Police purge

Bawa first of top cops charged


NEW National Capital District police chief Fred Sheekiot has wield the axe on senior police white-collar crime in the city, The National reports.
The first victim was former NCD police operations deputy boss Andy Bawa, who was arrested and charged with two counts of official corruption last Friday.
Another 10 senior officers would be similarly charged, Sheekiot, who is commander of NCD and Central, said when declaring that he had started his “head-rolling” exercise of police officers within his command who had been indulging in deals outside of their call of duty.
The crackdown was in line with the directives from Police Commissioner Gari Baki, he said, adding that Bawa had been suspended without pay with immediate effect pending the outcome of his court case.
Bawa had, over the years, developed a reputation as a hard-working deputy of NCD police chief Supt Fred Yakasa.
He had been replaced by Chief Insp Jim Namora as the new operations commander for NCD.
Sheekiot said the charges involved receiving a double salary spanning over three years – one from the police force and another from another government agency since January 2008.
The charges alleged that in addition to his normal police salary, Bawa was being paid K500 a fortnight by another government agency between Jan 1, 2008, and April 22 last year and between April 23 last year and July 21 this year.
Bawa was allowed bail of K500 last Friday, and was expected to appear in court this week.
Sheekiot said the practice of double dipping had been going on for a while with no action taken by those in authority.
“We have to clean up our backyard first before we can effectively exercise our designated roles as policing officers in the larger community of NCD and PNG.”
He said more officers would be charged in the coming days.
Since Baki announced a crackdown on discipline within the constabulary, complaints had emerged that policemen were continuing as security guards for politicians, heads of government departments and statutory organisations and businesses.
It was alleged that these policemen were given vehicles and salaries or allowances by their “side employers” while they continue to draw salary from police and live in barracks or police housing.
“Baki must clean up the entire force.
“The crackdown should not just target one or two people,” a senior police officer said last night.
“If police are providing security for big businesses in the city, Baki must stop them.
“If policemen are wearing uniforms and engaging in businesses, Baki must stop them, or get rid of them,” he added.

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