Security Company Paid Staff to ‘Keep Quiet’ Over Rape

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Wilson Security is alleged to have paid at least two employees to keep quiet about the alleged sexual assault of a local Manus Island woman last year.

Alleged ‘hush money’

Journalists for the ABC’s 7.30 program report that the money, offered as non-disclosure payments, included the worker’s remaining annual leave entitlements. It is understood the agreements prohibit the employees from discussing the incident with anyone except law enforcement and authorised government regulatory agencies.

One of the employees, who received nearly $15,000, was quickly removed from Papua New Guinea the day after the alleged rape, along with three other employees. The men no longer work for Wilson Security.

It has also been alleged that another Wilson Security worker was paid $1500 to remain silent about the night in question, with a condition that he would have to be pay the money back and potentially face legal consequences for a breach. The agreement says:

“The employee agrees that if approached by anyone, other than law enforcement or authorised government regulatory agency for counsel or assistance in the presentation or prosecution of any disputes, differences, grievances, claims charges or complaints by any third party against the company, Broadspectrum or ABF, the Employee will say no more to the person (whether orally or in writing) in relation to the request other than he cannot provide counsel or assistance to them.”

While Wilson Security has confirmed it uses deeds of non-disclosure, it says these are put into place in matters “that relate to sensitive information or at the conclusion of employment”.

Allegations of perverting the course of Justice

Wilson Security confirmed that four workers were removed from Manus Island the day after the alleged rape, but says their removal was “with the knowledge of the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary”.

PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and PNG police attempted to extradite the men back only weeks later, so the case could be properly investigated.

Towards the end of July 2015, PNG police threatened to arrest all managers at the Manus Island detention centre if the Australian men accused of attempted rape were not flown back.

In interviews, the alleged victim told police she was given pills and sexually assaulted. Police want to speak to the men as part of their investigations into reports of “attempted rape, indecent exposure and sexual assault”.

At the time, the Police Commander said if the men were not returned by his imposed deadline, he would proceed to arrest all those managers who facilitated the deportation of the Australians, because their actions prevented the course of justice.

The deadline came and went, with the men still not returned to Manus Island.

The Alleged Sexual Assault

A local woman who was also a worker at the Australian-operated detention facility on Manus Island was found naked and disoriented in the men’s bathroom in the early hours of the morning.

Earlier in the evening, she was seen drinking at a bar in the compound with the other workers before the group left to go to their accommodation blocks.

It is alleged that this is when the assault occurred, with at least two of the workers and the local female worker.

Of nine expatriate workers breath-tested in the early hours of July 16, two Wilson staff were apparently still heavily intoxicated and deemed unfit for work. Within hours, four men were taken from the island.

Investigations into the incident are continuing.

In April this year, the PNG Supreme Court ruled that Australia’s detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island is illegal, and moves are underway to completely shut the facility down.

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