THE reinstatement of Correctional Services Commissioner Richard Sikani to the top post is lawful and in line with all public service rules and regulations, minister Tony Aimo said yesterday, The National reports.
He told reporters that all internal and external investigations had cleared Sikani of any wrongdoing into the escape of serial bank robber William Kapris and 11 others from the Bomana prison early this year.
Based on these findings, the minister said cabinet saw fit to give the CS top administrative post back to Sikani.
“Sikani was not personally involved or responsible for aiding and abetting the escape of Kapris and 11 other hardcore prisoners from the Bomana maximum security unit on Jan 12,” Aimo said.
He said the jail commander of the corrective institution was responsible for the day-to-day administration and management of the prison, including the maximum unit.
“It is clearly spelt out in his duty statement,” he added.
He said two prison warders, Abiang Kera and John Weka, had been charged with the offence with their cases now before court.
“My department, through the commissioner, has in place security procedures and protocols, standing orders and operational orders in the management of the maximum security unit.
“The underlying rules and command must be observed and managed by the jail commanders and all their officers at CS institutions throughout the country.
“It is not the task of the commissioner, or even the minister, to stand at the Bomana maximum security unit gate or the CS gate to check every client visiting prisoners,” Aimo said.
“Security protocols of all security units must be strictly executed in all our correctional institutions.”
The minister said an internal investigation into the escape of Kapris and 11 others did not, in any way, implicate the commissioner.
“Having considered all these facts, I, as minister for CS, seeking advice from Public Service Minister Peter O’Neill and the chief secretary to government, Manasupe Zurenuoc, sought cabinet’s approval to reinstate Sikani as CS commissioner.”
The approval was granted on Aug 27.
Aimo urged the commissioner to ensure command and control mechanisms were put in place to get the department up and running.
Sikani’s first task would be to implement the prison industry authority concept, a vehicle aimed at driving the rehabilitation of rundown institutions and the rural lock-up programme that had grinded to a halt in January.
Sikani promised to do his best.