Baki to take Kramer’s decision to court

Acting Police Commissioner Gari Baki intends to take the Police Minister’s decision to replace him, to court.

Baki was handed a letter from Minister Kramer on Friday, directing him to stop work.

In a press conference this afternoon at the Police headquarters in Port Moresby, Baki expressed his frustration at the way he – along with Deputy Police Commissioners Jim Andrews and Raphael Huafolo – were treated.

Baki says due process was not followed when removing the senior members of the Royal PNG Constabulary and replacing them with new acting appointees. Hence he will be taking the matter to court to seek to restrain the National Executive Council and Police Minister from carrying out the July 5th decision.

“In the appointments of Chief of Bougainville Police Service and Deputy Commissioner, Francis Tokura, as the acting Commissioner, and the Northern Assistant Commissioner, Peter Guinness, as the Acting Deputy Commissioner of Operations, and Assistant Commissioner Joan Clarkson, as the acting Deputy Commissioner Administration,” said Baki.

“Let me state on record that this action is not intended in any way to discredit the three officers who have been appointed to the acting capacities.”

Basing his argument on Section 193, subsection 2 of the Constitution, Baki said the appointment, whether temporary or substantive, shall be made by the head of state, acting and in accordance with the advice of the National Executive Council, given after consultation from the Public Service Commission and the Permanent Parliamentary Appointments Committee.

“The appointment of Mr Tokura goes against the spirit of the Bougainville Peace Agreement, in that consultations were not held between the Government and the Autonomous Region of Bougainville and the Commissioner of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary prior to the appointment. And there are implications in the Bougainville Referendum,” Baki stated.

“At this point in time, I have not been consulted. There was no consultation, so in as far as Mr Tokura is concerned and I am concerned, Francis Tokura still remains the Chief of Bougainville Police by the instruments of appointment I have with me.

“The Government decision has in fact created a vacuum in the leadership of the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary. Today, as I talk, there is no commissioner, and there are no two deputies in this organisation. There’s none.”

Meantime in response, Police Minister Bryan Kramer says Baki’s contract was “null and void”.

“There was no NEC appointment for his interim.

“I was waiting on the Attorney General to provide advice. And that advice was provided on Thursday (July 4th), and I notified him.

“So he was illegally occupying office. He himself confirmed that the two deputy commissioners’ (Huafolo and Andrews) contracts expired (July 4).

“And the Police Act is very clear; once your contract expires, you retire.

“So they were not pushed out. Their contracts expired therefore vacancies were created. And because of the urgency, the decision was made on a submission to appoint acting officers for three months. So this would allow me sufficient time to be able to carry out a proper assessment on suitable candidates for the substantive position.”

Carmella Gware