Court to review bail conditions tomorrow
THE court will tomorrow review bail variations made for Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services Edmond Sikua following his suspension from work last Thursday.
The court had on Wednesday last week varied Sikua’s bail allowing him to return to his office to perform his duties.
Chief Magistrate John Numapo had granted the variation of bail on reasons that despite the fact that Sikua was charged with seven counts of official corruption on 22 December 2016, he is yet to be formally suspended from duty by the Public Services Commission (PSC).
He said therefore, Sikua remains a Permanent Secretary (PS) and will be required to continue to perform his duties accordingly.
Sikua who was on holiday resumed his duties last Thursday only to be handed his suspension letter.
Chief Magistrate John Numapo last Wednesday after varying Sikua’s bail had advised prosecution to bring the matter back to the court in the event there is a change of circumstances.
This is so that the court can review his varied bail conditions.
Gabriel Suri of Suri’s Legal Service had applied to Sikua’s bail variations on grounds that Sikua is still the PS and should be allowed to enter his office to resume his duties.
Sikua’s initial bail condition restricted him to enter his office, other government offices and restricted him of government properties.
A call to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions confirmed that an email has been sent to the Magistrates’ Court clerk to inform Mr Numapo of Sikua’s suspension.
A court clerk confirmed the matter is listed for tomorrow.
Sikua is facing seven counts of official corruption on 22 December 2016 for allegedly awarding government tenders worth $630,436.50 to Beeds Investment, a company registered and owned by his two daughters.
Prosecution alleged that as permanent secretary, Sikua is by default the chairman of his ministry’s tender board.
It was alleged that between 18 December 2015 and 29 August 2016 Beeds Investments responded to calls for tenders and was awarded business contracts for service delivery to the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services on seven different occasions.
The Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services have made payments of $630,436.50 to Beeds Investments for these services.
Prosecution further alleged that Sikua used his position of power and influence within the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services to manipulate the tendering process for his own and his family’s pecuniary advantage.
Sikua is the third public officer to have been arrested by Janus, since the establishment of the joint taskforce in August last year.
The other two are the financial controller of the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services, Stephen Jude Oto and Inland Revenue Division (IRD) officer Ellison Raoga.
Oto was accused of awarding himself government tenders worth more than $800,000.
Raoga was accused of receiving payments for remitting a company’s tax worth more than $100,000.
He faces one count of official corruption and six counts of fraudulent falsification of accounts.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN