Asia-Pacific

Australian security worker on Manus Island charged with second sex offence

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An Australian Paladin employee on Manus Island is accused of inappropriately touching two female employees.

An Australian man working for the Paladin company on Manus Island has been charged with a second count of sexual harassment.

The 59-year-old security supervisor was arrested and charged last week, accused of inappropriately touching one of Paladin's local female employees.

Manus Island police told SBS News on Wednesday another local female employee had since come forward and the man was again charged with "sexual touching, under the Criminal Code Act".

It comes as the auditor-general's office confirmed it will investigate Paladin's controversial $423 million Australian government contract.

Expats 'must abide by PNG laws'

The 59-year-old is accused of groping the two women at a Manus Island hotel last month.

Detailing the second charge, Chief Inspector David Yapu said "the suspect approached [the victim] at her back and touched her groin and genital area".

"The victim called out and the suspect released his hands."

The man appeared in Lorengau Committal Court on Wednesday and was granted bail. He will appear in court again on Friday.

As part of his bail conditions, his passport has been seized and he is not to leave the province.

An image of the accused.
An image of the accused.
Supplied

"Expatriates that come to work in Manus must abide by PNG laws," Mr Yapu said.

"No one is above the law."

The Refugee Action Coalition told SBS News it was familiar with the individual as he had previously been fired from another Manus Island contractor. 

Spokesperson Ian Rintoul said the man was dismissed from security company G4S for the "mistreatment of asylum seekers" when they were transferred to Manus Island in late 2013.

"[We understand] he was throwing food at them and there were complaints made ... But somehow he found employment again."

The East Lorengau Refugee Transit Center on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.
The East Lorengau Refugee Transit Center on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.
AAP

A spokesperson for G4S told SBS News the "the individual you have referred to ceased employment with G4S in March 2014 ... no further details can be provided".

What is Paladin?

Paladin is contracted by the Australian government to provide security and other services on Manus Island.

But an investigation has been launched into its $423 million contract.

The Auditor-General is investigating whether the Department of Home Affairs "appropriately managed the procurement of garrison support and welfare services for immigration processing centres".

A refugee on Manus Island.
A refugee on Manus Island.
AAP

The little-known company, whose Australian arm was until recently registered to a beach shack on Kangaroo Island, was awarded the contract in 2017 through a closed tender process.

But in February, Paladin's Manus Island staff walked off the job claiming they had been underpaid and overworked.

The company has rejected suggestions of misconduct or corruption over the contract.

The audit is expected to be tabled in parliament in January 2020.

The regional processing centre on Manus Island closed in 2017 but there are about 600 refugees living in camps in the main town of Lorengau.

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