Senior cop says no bribes – not this time anyway!

A senior police officer investigating the attempted murder of businessman Julian Tan in Port Moresby has said that he will not tolerate any bribes. Anyone caught offering bribes will be arrested and charged, he says.

The officer is on the public record saying “the whole world is focused on this case… so we will not tolerate bribes”.

While it is encouraging to hear one senior officer saying he will not tolerate bribes in this high profile case what do his statements tell us about the state of our police force and criminal justice system.

Clearly the bribing of police officers is common practice – and most if not all police officers are either involved in the practice or are complicit through their silence when they see it happen.

The fact that police officers are too scared, either for their physical security or loss of their job, to speak out when they see fellow officers accepting bribes means that there must be a culture of corruption that reaches to the very top of our police force.

Why does a senior investigating officer have to insist on anonymity when he says he will not tolerate bribes in a high profile case? It is because he does not feel he has the support of his superior officers. Why is Garry Baki, the Police Commissioner, not supporting this officer? Why has he not come out and said that bribes will not be tolerated?

Many other questions in the Julian Tan case still remain unanswered.

Who is the businessman who is the registered owner of one of the firearms found in possession of the arrested suspects?

How and when did the suspects enter PNG and what travel documents did they have?

How did one of the men have a work permit when he can neither speak nor understand English or tok pisin?

How big was “the large” quantity of foreign currencies found in their guesthouse rooms?

The attempted murder of Julian Tan tells us more about the corruption in our police force and the complicity of our politicians than it does about the dangers of living in Port Moresby.

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