By JACOB POK
THE government-appointed special investigation team which arrested Kokopo businessman Eremas Wartoto on Monday has questioned why the police released him on bail, The National reports.
Sam Koim, the chairman of the investigation task-force sweep, said in a statement that Wartoto had been charged with an indictable offence and only the National Court had the jurisdiction to deal with the issue of bail in such offences and not the police.
He said because of the nature of the offence, the team had requested police to refuse bail when Wartoto was arrested on Monday.
He said Wartoto was brought to the Boroko police cell and locked up at 1.30pm on Monday.
Koim said he was advised later that Wartoto was released on a K5,000 police bail around 4.20pm.
He said as a matter of protocol and procedure, when there was a request for refusal of bail, the police officer who was exercising powers as a bail authority should first check with the investigating authorities and arresting officers to confirm the nature of the arrest.
He said this was usually done to ensure that if bail was granted, then it must be conditional.
"But in this case, that was not done. I as the chairman of the investigation team express great concern on how a police senior command of NCD and Central saw fit to grant bail to the prisoner of state when he was put into police custody," Koim said in the statement.
Meanwhile, Wartoto failed to appear at the Waigani District Court yesterday.
A lawyer representing Wartoto, from the law firm Manase and Company Lawyers told the court they were not aware that the case was scheduled for yesterday.
He faces charges of misappropriating K7 million of the rehabilitation of education sector development fund belonging to the Kerevat National High School.
The case is expected to be called again today.