Police Commissioner apologises to Chief Ombudsman

Police Commissioner David Manning has apologised to the Ombudsman Commission over the events of last Friday which saw the detainment of the Chief Ombudsman, Richard Pagen, and a number of his staff at the Boroko Police Station.

This event culminated from an administrative oversight in the handling of a District Court warrant on an ongoing high-level case currently subjected to the constitutional process of investigation.

It was reported that police detectives from the NCD Metropolitan Fraud had gone over to the Ombudsman Commission office with members of a Fox Unit to serve a search warrant to “retrieve, seize and confiscate” all documents relating to the Manumanu land deal. Ombudsman Commission staff, including Pagen, were then allegedly cited for perverting the course of justice and taken to the police station. They were later released without being charged.

Manning regretted the unfortunate incident, saying the Police Force and the Ombudsman had always had a very good cordial working relationship. He said the Police Force has an operational duty, including execution of search and arrests warrants, and their legal obligation to arrest in the event of police obstruction.

“We have established processes and procedural guidelines with regards to police investigations. These processes and guidelines ensure that our conduct cannot be questioned,” stated Manning.

“In this instance, there were fundamental flaws in the manner in which the search warrant was obtained, including jurisdiction of the courts in the issuance of the search warrant, as well as in the service of the search warrant itself.

“Police men and women are not constitutional lawyers, hence are not subjected to full and self-interpreting of court documents to identify flaws.

“What transpired is rather unfortunate and was done so without the knowledge of either myself or the various commanders, including the Acting Deputy Commissioner Donald Yamasombi, Assistant Commissioner Crimes Hodges Ette, Director Crimes Joel Simatap and the NCD/Central Command.”

Manning again expressed his apologies to Pagen and the staff of the Ombudsman Commission and promised for a better understanding and working relationship going forward.

Manning said: “In fact, we respect each other and have worked well together in the past and will continue to do so now and into the future in the dispensation of justice.

“I have since issued directives for the investigation to immediately cease, all files on the investigation to be made available to my office and members involved in the investigation to be immediately stood down pending a full investigation into this incident.”

(Police Commissioner David Manning, left, has apologised to the Chief Ombudsman and his staff over Friday’s detainment)

Press release