KIMBE (WEST NEW BRITAIN) - Two police officers in Kimbe have been suspended following the release on bail of a man facing charges related to the mv Rabaul Queen sea disaster.
New Guinea Islands police commander Anton Billie said Michael Livinai had been arrested on Friday Aug 23 and charged with 162 counts of manslaughter. He said the matter was supposed to be heard in the National Court.
But for some reason, he said Livinai was granted a K500 bail purportedly by the Kimbe district court on Saturday Aug 24.
He said they later found out that the two police officers at Kimbe had signed the court documents as guarantors of his bail.
Billie said because the matter was before the National Court, only that court should have granted bail. He said one of the two suspended officers was the acting police station commander in Kimbe.
“The two police officers had been suspended because they had signed the court order with his release as the guarantors of his bail,” he said.
Livinai was the National Maritime Safety Authority manager based in Kimbe when the sea disaster happened on Feb 2 last year off the coast of Finschhafen, Morobe.
“The investigators are concerned that the bail was given on the weekend and proper court processes were not followed,” Billie said.
“The case was not yet registered in court and also there was no special court sitting during that weekend. Even the police prosecutor was not aware of the signed court order which had guaranteed the bail. Not even the investigators on the ground as well.
“It prompted police headquarters in Port Moresby to give directions for the investigations.” [TheNational]