Police allegedly attempt to extort K60,000 from official

Two police officers attached with the Boroko Criminal Investigation Division are facing charges of bribery and extortion after allegedly attempting to extort K60,000 from a district administrator.

Their accomplice, an officer with the Works Department, will also be charged accordingly.

The men were apprehended today following a covert operation by the Police Internal Affairs Directorate.

Kikori District Administrator and chief executive officer to the Kikori MP, Tars Sauka, was purportedly arrested on December 24th at the Laguna Hotel after a District Services Improvement Program (DSIP) meeting.

In his statement, Sauka said he was standing at the Laguna Hotel reception when a stocky individual with a police haircut stood near him and asked, “are you Mr Tars Sauka, the CEO for Kikori District?”

Upon receiving a positive response, the suspect said: “You are under arrest. I am the CID from Boroko police station.”

“Without saying much, he forced me to put my right hand on top of his hand,” said Sauka.

“I stood hesitantly. He repeated and told me to put my hand on top of his hand.”

When Sauka did as he was told, the suspect held his hand and pushed him out of the main hotel door to a waiting vehicle in the carpark. Sauka sat opposite the driver with the two other suspects at the back.

His phone was confiscated as they were driving towards the Waigani traffic lights, preventing him from calling his family.

They took him for a ride to Tokarara to one of the suspects’ house, who went in and later emerged with an A4-sized yellow envelope.

Sauka was shown the envelope and told that it contains his file, which is a ‘very serious case’.

“Then they drove me to Hohola, they repeatedly told me that my case is very serious so I am going to jail for many years,” said Sauka.

The suspects threatened Sauka saying he would not be spending Christmas with his family.

Sauka then told the suspects that he wished to celebrate Christmas and asked that they pursue the case after the New Year. He gave the suspects K900 cash and asked to be taken back to Laguna.

“I told them we will talk on this matter later this afternoon at Laguna so please, do come to Laguna.”

In retelling the event to media today, Director Internal Affairs, Chief Superintendent Robert Ali, said the stocky suspect gave his name as ‘Steven Nibu’ when asked by Sauka.

“But his actual name is Jeffry (Kifoe),” said Ali. “We discovered from one of the photos they took and from the information we got and from our briefings starting last week Thursday, Friday and this morning (January 6th).

“And the ordeal continued. They rung him up and said ‘ok, it’s almost New Year now so you need to get the money. My boss wants K60,000 because I’ve got two bosses and we need to split it between them; K30,000 for them (suspects) and the other K30,000 to be split between the bosses.”

Sauka then forwarded the information to the Boroko CID, who then elevated the matter to the Internal Affairs Directorate on January 3rd, as members of the force were involved.

“And so those are the type of things that are currently happening,” said Ali. “They’ve been changing number plates on the (hired) vehicle, that’s what we identified.”

On Monday (Jan 6) morning the complainant (Sauka) was directed by the directorate to call Kifoe and tell him that he has the money. The call was put on speaker where the entire team heard the conversation.

Kifoe was allegedly given money on three separate occasions; K900 during the day on December 24th then another K3,000 in the night after meeting with Sauka. He received another K3,000 on January 1st, 2020, at Laguna.

“We don’t know what happened to the money,” said Ali.

Kifoe and his accomplices are looking at three charges of extortion each.                   

(The weapons confiscated from the suspects including money that was used as bait)

Carmella Gware