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05 August 2019

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David Kitchnoge

Agree with Phil. Well said.

Minister Kramer just needs to clear the road blocks, as he says, and allow our own fraud investigators to get on with their work.

They are the professionals and they'll identify what sorts of partnership arrangements with external parties are required to probe things that happen outside of PNG's boundaries and jurisdiction.

Enlisting outside assistance should be strictly on a case-by-case needs basis with specific enquiries. Not wholesale 'support' which might actually become a hindrance to our own work.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Thinking about this a bit further, I think Minister Kramer really needs to be careful.

He says he will be reaching out to the Australian Federal Police for assistance in restructuring PNG's Fraud Squad.

While a lot depends on what sort of assistance he is seeking he should be very wary of inadvertently falling into a trap.

The AFP has close links to the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) and the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS).

All of these agencies are secretive and immune from Freedom of Information requests in Australia.

The ASD’s main function is listening in on communications domestically and in other countries which may be of interest to the Australian government.

Given Australia’s newly discovered interest in the Pacific region it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that a request made by Minister Kramer wouldn’t be seen as an invitation to engage in a little extra-curricular spying.

Australia, after all, has lots of skin in this sort of game, just ask Timor Leste, for instance.

It’s also interesting to consider why the minister thinks that the Fraud Squad needs outside help.

As far as can be ascertained from the recent past the Fraud Squad already has a team of very professional and incorruptible officers. Peter O’Neill will vouch for this fact.

They know exactly what needs to be done to make their work easier.

In the first instance this involves quarantining them from political interference. In the second instance it involves guaranteeing them a decent budget so they can have the resources they need to be effective.

Once they’ve got all that it’s just a matter of letting them loose. They know who the crooks are and where they live.

One of the things they don’t need is having to drag some AFP characters behind them hindering what they do.

If the AFP is happy to sit in the Airways Hotel propping up the bar and occasionally wandering over to the smorgasbord well and good but if they want to get in the way things won’t work as well as the minister expects.

If the minister insists in getting outside help maybe he should look elsewhere for the expertise he seeks.

His own back yard might be a good place to start.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Hmm!

I'm not too sure about that. The AFP has become politicised in recent times. Getting advice from a compromised organisation might not be such a good idea.

And giving cops quotas can be counter-productive too. Just look at how the states in Australia use traffic fines as a revenue raising measure.

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