|Guns for PNG Parliament|
This is on top of side-arms for some Ministers and Members of Parliament who also have armed personnel from the Special VIP protection Unit.
Among the purchase was a very high-powered weapon only issued to the military and for special forces –the HK MP7A1 which cost K38,500 for one, with its 30 round magazines costing K3500 for a quantity of four. This weapon is only a defense issue according to police and national security advisors -HK MP7A1 is a submachine gun / personal defense weapon with extended 40-roundmagazine and a number of extras, including night sight, flashlight and silencer.
Other weapons included a Colt (M4 Carbine bushmaster) 5.5 worth K37,500 for a single purchase (five were purchased to the value of K187, 500) and Glock (G17 9mm w/2x 16 round magazines worth K35,000 for one (five were purchased) – costing Parliament K175,000.
The total amount spent on the purchase was K556,290 for the firearms and ammunitions, all paid out from the Parliament House account.
In a letter sent to the NCD Chief Superintendant Peter Guinness on January 11, 2013, Mr Ila singled out that the purchase of these high-powered weapons were to be used in Parliament, specifically to guard him and the Speaker of Parliament.
In the letter, he mentioned that he was attacked by thugs and the recent threats and physical confrontations by unknown criminal elements at Gordons warranted the purchase of these firearms and ammunition.
Mr Guinness then sought approval from the Police Commissioner on the 15th of January for the purchase of these weapons. The Commissioner Tom Kulunga advised against the purchase but Parliament went ahead and proceeded with the acquisition.
“In 1999, the National Parliament during the administration of former clerk of Parliament Ano Pala, the National Parliament purchased two Sig pistols, five pump action shotguns and eight side arm pistols and other firearms, which were stolen whilst Parliament security officers had them in their custody,” Mr Ila wrote to Mr Guinness. During the administration of then outgoing clerk Don Pandan, these firearms were either stolen or misplaced. These firearms had wear and tear, the Sig pistols were transferred to the Speaker of Parliament and the Sergeant-at-Arms.
“The latest threats and physical confrontations with me by unknown elements at Gordons forcefully pulling the car key from the ignition of my vehicle and continuously following me in unmarked vehicles is coming to a stage where my life and my family is at risk.
“In foreseeing such threats to a constitutional officeholder and the Speaker of Parliament, there is an urgent need to boost up security for the Speaker and the Acting Clerk of the National Parliament.
“The firearms, if purchased will be kept by the police in their armoury as custodians and released upon request by my office for escort purposes. This arrangement can be done by the two departments having an MOU in place for auditing and compliance.”
Last night the Speaker’s officials told the Post-Courier the Speaker of Parliament Theo Zurenuoc was not aware of this purchase nor was he consulted for the matter. The officials said Parliament did not need such high-powered weapons but advised that the Speaker would make an appropriate response once he received an immediate brief on the matter.
The Post-Courier contacted the supplier of the firearms and ammunition – a middleman PNG-based company who confirmed they have made business with the National Parliament but refused to comment once they learnt the questions were from the Post-Courier. They told the paper to contact the National Parliament.
Source: Post Courier