TUMBY BAY - I think Papua New Guinea’s police minister Bryan Kramer really needs to be careful.
He says he will reach out to the Australian Federal Police for assistance in restructuring PNG's fraud squad.
While a lot depends on the kind 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 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 Kramer would 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, where Australian spies laced listening devices in the cabinet room.
It’s also interesting to consider why Kramer thinks the fraud squad needs outside help.
In the recent past the fraud squad has shown itself to have a team of professional and incorruptible officers. Peter O’Neill will vouch for this fact.
The fraud squad will know exactly what needs to be done to make its work easier.
First, quarantining them from political interference.
Secondly, guaranteeing them a decent budget so they 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 dragging some AFP characters around with 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, he should look elsewhere for the expertise he seeks.
His own backyard might be a good place to start.