Contempt case against Baki filed

Lawyers representing the Court-stayed director of the National Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate Matthew Damaru have filed contempt proceedings against Police Commissioner Gari Baki.

McRonald Nale of Jema Lawyers, who is representing Damaru, confirmed with Loop they filed the contempt proceeding yesterday.  

The contempt proceeding was filed against the actions of Commissioner Baki on April 18 when he temporarily closed the fraud office after a stay was granted by the National Court against Damaru’s suspension.   

Damaru was served a notice of suspension from office on Saturday, April 16, at his family residence at Bomana.

Commissioner Baki in a press conference on April 17 said he suspended Damaru because he wanted to assume command and control of an erratic directorate.

He said the directorate was out of control and also suspended the immediate staff for their continuous defiance of administrative direction, which amounts to insubordination.  

Baki also suspended the officer-in-charge of fraud, Inspector Joel Simatab.

On April 18, Damaru’s suspension was stayed by the Waigani National Court.

The interim orders also allowed Damaru to act in his capacity as the director of the Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate until the matter returns to court on May 9 for the full hearing.

However on the evening of April 18, Commissioner Baki announced in a media conference that he directed for a temporary closure of the fraud office.

Baki told the media that he took the stance to regain command and control of the police force.

He told the media then that the decision by the courts on the morning of April 18 to reinstate Damaru sets a bad precedence that if any officer is aggrieved by a decision that is made by any commanding officer, he or she can run to the court and stay the decision of the suspension even if the officer has committed a criminal offence.

Baki said the matter is purely administrative and should have been handled as an internal matter within the organisation.

(File picture of Damaru and his lawyers on April 18.)

Sally Pokiton