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Thomas Eluh

Assistant Commissioner Police - Suspended


Ph. No. 72010067

The National Court will on Tuesday decide whether or not police will be
restrained from arresting Prime Minister Peter O'Neill over the Paul
Paraka case. The matter is before the court and to comment on it could
be viewed as sub judice.
However, I feel that I am duty bound to comment on a number of
misconceptions as a Papua New Guinean first, and as a policeman for
over 40 years and the lead police investigator in the Paul Paraka case
until my suspension by Acting Police Commissioner Geoffrey Vaki.
I hope and trust that my comment will help our people, especially the
elected leaders and police officers to accept, respect and comply with
whatever decision the court will make on Tuesday July 3.
The future of Papua New Guinea as an independent democratic nation
is at stake. This is no longer a question of the Prime Minister's guilt or
innocence. This is not about being right or wrong. This is simply about
the respect of and for the rule of law. This is about submitting ourselves
to the laws and the justice system of PNG.
Every citizen of Papua New Guinea is duty bound to respect and
submit himself or herself to the laws of the land and its processes. The
absence of respect for the rule of law by all citizens regardless of status
or wealth will result in a lawless state or a dictatorial regime.
Paul Paraka investigations
A lot of comments have been made about the investigations which I
have taken note of. There are two issues raised by various
commentators which I feel must be responded to.
The first is the allegation that politics was involved and that the police
investigators may have compromised themselves. The second is that
police may have" jumped the gun" and put the "cart before the horse" by
inviting the prime minister in for the interview especially when Paul
Paraka, the man at the centre of controversy has not even been tried in
court.
On the first issue, I can argue on this case till the cows come home but
people will believe what they want to believe and only when they want
to. The allegation of the involvement of politics raises serious questions
about the integrity or myself and my investigators, former Police
Commissioner Toami Kulunga as well as former Deputy Commissioner
Operations Simon Kauba. We are all experienced policemen, each with
over 40 years in the police service. It is highly improper and disrespectful
to argue our innocence through the mainstream mass media as well as
the internet social network so we will not try to defend ourselves in this
forum. We will leave that for the courts to decide when the matter comes
up before them.
On the question of police having jumped the gun, again I will leave that
for the courts to decide. But just for the record, we took over a month to
reach the decision that the prime minister must come in to be
interviewed in relation to official corruption charges. A warrant of arrest
is a legal requirement in official corruption charges. And to obtain a
warrant of arrest we had to convince the courts to be granted one. We
are very mindful of the fact that this is not just any ordinary case
involving any ordinary person but a person who occupies the highest
office in the country.
My suspension
Acting Commissioner Vaki has stated that he suspended me for
insubordination. That may well be but I believe the intention was always
there and was a condition for his appointment as acting commissioner of
police. I basically gave him a "good" reason to suspend me.
However, in defence of my alleged actions, I took offence because the
very first thing Vaki did, before even formally taking office was to help
O'Neill's lawyers to restrain police from arresting him. As the acting
commissioner of police appointed by the National Executive Council I
expected him to summon myself and my investigators to provide him
with a detailed brief on the investigation. Whatever actions he takes after
that will be his prerogative. But we were willing to give him the benefit of
the doubt.
However, he has failed the 6,000 members of the Constabulary and
the 7.2 million people of Papua New Guinea by consenting to the
restraining order sought by O'Neill. He brought the office of the
Commissioner into disrepute by sidelining police lawyer Chief
Superintendent Nicholas Miviri and appointing Paul Mawa in his place.
We have reason to believe that Paul Mawa is currently engaged or has
been engaged by the Prime Minister on a number of matters. By his
actions Vaki has declared where his loyalty is and that is certainly not
with the police service which he now heads as acting commissioner. His
support for the restraining orders also raises doubts in the minds of the
public about the conduct of myself and my investigators.
At the time when I was alleged to have raised my voice and pointed at
Vaki, senior officers were meeting in the Deputy Commissioner
Operations' office discussing his conduct when he walked in
unannounced and uninvited.
O'Neill's actions
Prime Minister O'Neill has shown by actions taken since I personally
served him the letter of invitation for the record of interview that he does
not respect out laws and will not be subjected to it. This is also evident in
the following actions he has taken since which also amount to perverting
the course of justice:
1. Revocation of Sir Toami Kulunga's appointment as Commissioner of
Police. Sir Toami wrote to him as head of the police service inviting him
to the National Fraud & Anti Corruption office for the interview;
2. Appointment of Vaki as Acting Commissioner of Police. This is the
man who took Sir Toami and the Constabulary to court and succeeded
in securing a guilty verdict and 7 month sentencing. Vaki has serious
disciplinary charges pending yet the NEC saw fit to appoint him
regardless;
3. Disbanding of the Investigating Task Force Sweep; and
4. Revocation of the appointment of Simon Kauba as Deputy
Commissioner of Police and Chief of Police Operations. Kauba made
repeated appeals to Prime Minister O'Neill to respect the rule of law and
come in for the interview with police.
We believe actions taken and decisions made by O'Neill and members
of the National Executive Council are attempts to pervert the course of
justice. My suspension by Vaki is an attempt to pervert the course of
justice. The wheels of justice have turned and will not stop until
everyone is held accountable for his or her actions.
Respect for rule of law
Finally, I want to appeal to everyone to respect the rule of law and the
decisions of the courts. Whatever our beliefs, whatever our reasons, at
the end of the day we must all respect and submit to the rule of law and
to the orders and decisions of our courts. This is not the forum for me to
defend my actions and those of my investigators. But I have the firm
belief that at the end of the day courts will either convict or vindicate
everyone. I look forward to my day in court.

Thomas Eluh
Assistant Commissioner Police - Suspended
Ph. No. 72010067