PNG police arms, ammunition not yet ready for this year’s elections

Today's Post-Courier front page report on the police procurements problem
Today's Post-Courier front page report on the police procurements problem. Image: Post-Courier screenshot APR

By Claudia Tally in Port Moresby

Papua New Guinean police have made a startling revelation that firearms for the National Elections security operations in June have yet to be purchased.

Deputy Police Commissioner Anton Billie says the firearms might not be procured and received by the time the election writs are issued on April 28 when nominations and campaigns start in earnest.

“We haven’t purchased anything yet. I’ve been told that they are doing it (police procurement team) but they need time,” Billie said yesterday.

He said the normal process for procurement of ammunition and guns could take about six to eight months to organise because important procurement protocols that needed to be followed.

Billie believes, however, police will manage with the currently available stock until the new procurement arrives.

A senior employee of the Police Department, who requested anonymity, said there were strict procurement protocols in place. However, due to the urgency the police procurement team had come up with measures to bypass some of these procedures.

The source said this situation would not have come about had the funds for the purchase of the firearms been released in November or December last year.

Funding needed last year
“We were supposed to get the funding last year but because we got it this year in February, the funding delayed everything,” he said.

“It normally takes a long time to procure.

“To get the procurement for those major expenditures, like uniforms and guns and ammunitions, we don’t have the time to do that procurement.”

The issue is further complicated because the procurement committee has not approved the police procurement orders.

Items yet to be purchased include guns, ammunitions, and uniforms.

The three-week election is due to begin a week early on June 18.

Claudia Tally is a PNG Post-Courier reporter. Republished with permission.

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