Treasury break-in an ‘inside job’

A former Southern Highlands public servant claims the break in at the provincial treasury office was an ‘inside job’.

The incident occurred between June 28th and the early hours of June 29th when masked men entered the Agiru Centre and made off with important documents.

Community leader and former advisor to Government interface, Martin Firmin Pat, told this newsroom the incident occurred when an audit was about to be conducted into the province’s spending of public funds.

“Armed, masked men came through the back of Agiru Centre, tied up the guards and went straight into the treasurer’s office, which is on the second floor. They targeted soft and hard copy of documentation,” Pat reported. “They came first round, realised they had gotten the wrong documentation and came back the second time; after half an hour.”

It is believed that auditors were going to look into the COVID-19, African Swine Fever and February 2018 disaster funds.

“This is not the first time the Agiru Centre was broken into. The Human Resource Management office (in the same building) was previously broken into and this incident is the sixth one. To date, we have had no proper reports nor investigations to apprehend suspects.”

Southern Highlands provincial police commander, Chief Superintendent Martin Lakari, confirmed the suspicion that the incident was instigated by internal officers.

“I dispatched detectives to conduct immediate investigation, especially on security guards at that time,” he told this newsroom.

He said the investigation will reveal whether individuals are trying to throw off the audit.

“A report will be furnished to me in due course.”

(The Agiru Centre [white building] in Mendi town, Southern Highlands Province)

Carmella Gware