When her office phone rang recently, she was delighted to find it was a senior Royal PNG Constabulary fraud investigator seeking the OPP’s feedback on whether he was on track in seeking to crack an important fraud case.
The police officer’s call to Roalakona came the morning after a three-day workshop on fraud investigation and prosecution, organised by the OPP with support from the PNG-Australia Partnership.
The call was an indication to Roalakona that efforts to improve communication and cooperation between investigators and prosecutors in tackling fraud and corruption are working.
She says fraud is a particularly difficult and complex crime to investigate and prosecute, and the more police, lawyers and other investigators talk to each other, the better the prospects for a successful prosecution.
The workshop, which brought together more than 70 investigators and lawyers from the RPNGC, the OPP, the Office of the Public Solicitor, Bank South Pacific and other organisations, provided training and practical advice on financial fraud and money laundering.
The workshop was also an opportunity for those combating fraud and money laundering to connect and share ideas, experiences and advice.
OPP Senior Prosecution Adviser Tom McPhee, who presented at the workshop, says in the past fraud cases have often been struck out because there was little communication between investigators and prosecutors.
The OPP is optimistic that there will be a rise in the successful prosecution of fraud and money laundering cases due to investigators receiving necessary training and there being stronger collaboration between key agencies.
(Helen Roalakona, Prosecutor in Charge, Serious Crime and Dishonesty Unit, Office of the Public Prosecutor)