THE Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary is boosting its efforts to crackdown on financial crimes in Papua New Guinea. By the end of the year, almost 80 police officers will have received specialist training in investigation and prosecution of fraud and corruption.
The RPNGC Fraud and Anti-Corruption Directorate is conducting the Fraud Investigations and Prosecutions course nationally. The training was held for 28 officers from the New Guinea Islands Region in Kokopo, East New Britain recently.
The training will strengthen the capacity of these officers to investigate and prosecute complex fraud and related matters in a coordinated way. This is the second group of officers to undergo this training, following one conducted in March for 29 officers from the Southern Region in Port Moresby.
Course Instructor, Chief Sergeant Kila Guma said the training significantly increases the effectiveness of police in detecting, investigating and prosecuting fraud, corruption and similar crimes.
“This course is very important. We want to train more officers to be able to investigate fraud and corruption effectively as there is a real appetite among officers for this sort of training.”
He added that by bringing investigators and prosecutors together in the same room, the training will foster mutual understanding and teamwork in the successful prosecution of offenders.
The course covers practical issues such as investigation planning and management, as well as interactive sessions on elements of offences, file preparation and evidence. Participants will also receive training on the recent legislation concerning money laundering and the proceeds of crime, which is essential to combatting increasingly complex financial crimes.
Senior Constable Tina Nikints, a fraud investigator based in East New Britain, said the training was “something I have been longing for”.
“When I started in the Fraud and Anti-corruption Unit I didn’t have any formal training. I used to read old court files to understand what was involved. I was the only lady in the unit, and at first I was afraid to ask for advice.”
Senior Constable Felicitas Mare, a police prosecutor based in West New Britain, said the course, which covers the latest trends and techniques, would lead to more effective and efficient investigations and prosecutions.
“After this course I will really know how to deal with fraud matters and I am pleased,” Senior Constable Mare said.
Plans are in place to conduct the next training in Mt Hagen for officers based in the Highlands region.
This initiative is supported by the Australian Government through the Justice Services and Stability for Development Program.