COMMISSIONER QUERIES CONFIDENTIALITY OF POLICE INVESTIGATIONS BEING POSTED ON SOCIAL MEDIA

by BRYAN KRAMER

Today's post Courier ran a front page story suggesting the Commissioner of Police Gary Baki is querying how confidential investigations by National Fraud & Anti-Corruption ended up being posted on Social Media.

The daily paper quoted Baki having concerns as to why there was a need to go to media on public matters which are supposed to be confidential police investigations.
He added that the actions of Mr Damaru and Mr Gitua undermined the integrity of the office of the Commissioner of Police.

"This is a serious breach of discipline and amounts to insubordination. In fact they are treating the office of the Commissioner of Police with contempt. Why wasn't I briefed prior to the securing of the warrant of arrest?" Mr Baki said.

"Why wasn't I briefed in the three days prior to my directive for the briefing after having read this matter on Facebook?" he said.

In response I would like to clarify that I never obtained any confidential information from police regarding my article. Nor did Members of the Fraud squad discuss their investigations with me or the media.

Mr. Vele's arrest was circulating within the rumour mill for months. In fact more queries were raised why Police took so long to act on the matter after the formal complaint by the former Opposition Leader Belden Namah was lodge on 15th April 2014 over a year ago. It seems investigations into high profile people take years while ordinary people are tracked down and thrown into jail on a mere suspension of guilt.

Every piece of information in my article was obtained through my own extensive research over the internet and analytical deductions after carefully considering all the material. I've provided the links confirming the evidence was in the public arena not as secret and confidential as suggested.
(1) Contents of Namah's letter https://www.facebook.com/namorongmartyn/posts/528659657242831
(2) Extracts of the Prime Minister's letter to the Acting Secretary https://sonjabarryramoi.wordpress.com/…/the-lr-group-k50-m…/
(3) Prime Ministers Media Statement on 2 May 2014 http://www.officeofprimeminister.com/#!may-2014/c1kg7
(4) Prime Minsters response on 15th April to Namah complaint. http://news.pngfacts.com/…/namah-files-criminal-complaint-a…
The intel regarding the warrant of arrest were obtained because the moment it was applied for documents were lodged with District Court and become a matter of public record. Most don't realise the Court is the peoples court open to the public to attend hearings and be advised on its rulings.
While Mr Baki does have cause to be disappointed he was not briefed on this matter and only learned of it through social media there is no prescribed protocols that every officer under his command must seek the Commissioners approval to apply for a warrant. Many law enforcement investigations around the world are done without the direct knowledge of the Commissioner. It is not the normal practice for the Commissioner to be brief on every investigation unless he has a special interest in it and issued instructions to be informed.

In the recent Supreme Court Reference in matter of the powers, functions, duties and responsibilities of the Commissioner of Police in relation to warrants of arrest the High Court affirmed that Commissioner of Police has authority to issue directions to other members of the Police Force regarding the conduct of criminal investigations, including applying for arrest and search warrants, laying charges, and presenting information.

Section 197 of the Constitution provides powers of Police to preserving peace and good order in the country and maintaining and enforcing the law in an "impartial and objective manner"
Section 198 of the Constitution provides the Commissioner is responsible for the superintendence, efficient organisation and control of the Force,

The Commissioner is at the peak of the hierarchy. Each member is obliged to obey lawful orders including and especially any such orders given by the Commissioner. So to establish insubordination it must be proven that the Commissioner gave clear and direct orders that any application for a warrant of arrest must be subject to his approval.

So the question is did the Commissioner give such an "order" if not then in my opinion there can be no charge of insubordination.

It was only after this incident that the Commissioner has now publicised his orders "that there will be no more direct approach by members of the NFACD or any other members of the constabulary for that matter to the courts in obtaining a warrant of arrest without the express approval of Commissioner of Police."

The article also reported that Baki said that in light of thsUMPese acts of insubordination by the NFACD who acted independently and without following protocols, and in the interest of protecting the independence and impartiality of the Constabulary, he had issued a series of directives.
He said that acting Deputy Commissioner Raphael Huafolo will lead a team to look into the operations of the NFACD in terms of past, present and pending investigations. "This directive is in view of the fact that there is strong perception that the NFCAD is heavily politicised and influenced and is not impartial in all matters currently under investigation.

It is the Commissioner's prerogative to direct an investigation into NFACD whether it is necessary or appropriate in the circumstances maybe subject to debate. Every law abiding citizen would like him to extend the same initiative and attention to support the Fraud Squad cases currently before the Court in relation to the warrant of arrest against the Prime Minster. The last Commissioner engaged the services of Queens Counsel from Australia to stay, frustrate and defy executing the warrant and in the end resulted in his own criminal conviction. To avoid the same strong perception that Commissioner's office is heavily politicised and influenced it would be preferable he engage Queens Counsel to represent Fraud Squad's case in interest of justice.

Given the Commissioner is raising issue that NFCAD is heavily politicised and influenced and no longer impartial in their investigations then it's important to note that the Prime Minister asserted the same allegations in relation his planned arrest. He applied to the National Court to stay his arrest relying on his own affidavit claiming that the criminal investigations were politically motivated and the work of rogue policemen. The National Court after considering all the evidence refused to stay his arrest stating that there was in fact "no evidence" to support the Prime Minister's claim. So in the current circumstances is there any real cogent evidence suggesting that the NFCAD are in fact heavily politicised and influenced and will this evidence stand up in court.

Many have faith in the good Commissioner given his years of experience and distinguished career in the Constabulary he will uphold the law prescribed by the Constitution, because in the end its only "In God We Trust."