Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jails minister, commissioner suspended for jailbreak

Caption: Jails Minister Tony Aimo (right) and Commissioner Richard Sikani...suspended over jailbreak

From The National

PRIME Minister Sir Michael Somare has taken over the Correctional Services ministry with immediate effect.
Sir Michael got tough yesterday, eight days after the Bomana prison breakout, as three warders and a person who was allegedly the driver of the getaway vehicle appeared before a magistrate yesterday for allegedly aiding the escape of the 12 dangerous prisoners.
Tony Aimo, who had held the position, is now Minister without Portfolio pending investigations into the Bomana prison breakout on Jan 12 by the Correctional Services and the National Security Advisory Council.
CS Commissioner Richard Sikani has also been suspended.
The decisions were taken by the National Executive Council in a special meeting yesterday afternoon.
The Prime Minister’s Office issued a short statement: “This is to advise that the Prime Minister had met with Minister Tony Aimo on 19 January and informed him that he will remain minister but without portfolio.
“The Correctional Service portfolio will be vested with the Prime Minister until further notice and after an investigation is carried out.”
During the meeting with Mr Aimo, Sir Michael also instructed the minister to meet with senior Correctional Service officials immediately and to make the necessary reshuffle in light of the prison escape. It is understood that Mr Sikani’s responsibilities are being taken over by deputy commissioner (operations) Henry Wavik, while deputy commissioner (human resources) Steven Pokanis has been moved up as acting deputy commissioner.
The acting appointments are expected to be announced by Public Service Minister Peter O’Neill. When contacted, Mr Aimo said it was the Prime Minister’s prerogative to sideline him.
“I as the minister accept the decision. The Prime Minister must be in charge of this pressing issue.
“I will work closely with the Prime Minister to ensure the smooth functioning of this very important State entity.”

1 comment:

  1. Reginald Renagi3:19 PM

    The buck always stops with the PM. It's about time the PM took charge of a very bad situation that has now posed a serious national security threat to the community due to the incompetence of the Correctional Institution Services Ministry.

    It was most disappointing to watch several press conferences by both the Minister and his CIS boss on TV. The Minister blames the junior ranking guards for the escape by some high-risk prisoners from Bomana jail just outside Port Moresby.

    To make the whole TV press conference look a farce, many PNGeans saw the CIS boss smiling at the cameras and telling all and sundry along with his Minister on how the whole escape took place. Both men expressed no shame at all on how this shocking escape incident looked for their own Ministry.

    Neither Minister Tony Aimo or his CIS Commissioner immediately took any direct responsibility and accountability for this major security beach. Both the Minister and Commissioner public statements were most unprofessional. They should not have gone into the details of how the whole prison break was master-minded, and other speculations whilst a preliminary internal investigations by the CIS was still going on.

    This is a no-no so the sidelining of both men from their jobs really comes as no surprise. The public are right to be very angry with the jail boss and his organization's incompetence in allowing this major prison break.

    The government must address their demands for action now instead of just forking out more money each time there is a nation-wide public outcry. This could have all being prevented in the first place. Now the people have to fork out some K2 or 3 million of public money to chase after the prisoners and catch them (if we catch them), investigate the whole thing; and take some action (if any) to deter future incidents of this nature.

    A new proactive Minister must now immediately be appointed to take charge of this national manhunt and clean up the mess in the CIS Ministry. The PM has his hands full with many other issues still outstanding for many years.