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The Department of Justice and Attorney-General in Papua New Guinea will head an administrative investigation into abuses of leave of absence procedures of prisoners.
The Cabinet-approved investigation was announced Thursday by Minister for Justice and Attorney-General Davis Steven, one day after Deputy Chief Justice Sir Gibbs Salika summoned the Bomana jail administrators to appear before him on Monday to explain alleged abuses of the justice system at the biggest jail in PNG.
Steven said Cabinet approved the administrative investigation on Monday after Correctional Services Commissioner Michael Waipo did not comply with a directive for him not to conduct an internal investigation on the issue.
He said Correctional officers want an independent investigation team and not an internal one because they want credible outcomes.
Steven did not release details of the composition of the inquiry and how long it would take.
However, he said that the leave of absence (LOA) provided under section 100 and 101 of the Correctional Service Act was for medical reasons but that had been abused for other reasons like accessing educational training and leisure in town.
Steven said these practices, facilitated by the Correctional Services, had allowed prisoners to enjoy liberty, an abuse of the court order that gave custodial sentences, under the guise of medical reasons.
Steven said the investigation team will be made up of the sectors of the Justice Department and they will come up with the terms of reference that will be broad so that causes and extent of the leave of absence procedures can be strengthened.
“My view is that the CS seriously needs to be rebuilt through legislative framework. We need to look at the manpower including the aging workforce, and we need strategic plans to modernise the force like the Police modernisation program that the government has embarked on,” Steven said.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PACNEWS
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