Tue, 25 July 2017
Last Updated: Tue, 25 Jul 2017 6am
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SIKUA FIGHTS ORDER

Argued his suspension has no legal basis


LAWYER for the suspended Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Police, National Security, and Correctional Services Edmond Sikua is challenging the legality of the decision.

Gabriel Suri of Suri’s Legal Service on Wednesday told Chief Magistrate John Numapothe letter of suspension issued to his client did not come from the lawful source or authority.

He said the Office of the Secretary of Cabinet section 41 (2) does not give the secretary the powers to issue the suspension notice.

Mr Suri argued there is no legal basis for the Secretary to Cabinet to issue the suspension letter as according to sections 128 and 116 of the Constitution.

He added that any such letter of suspension must come from the Public Service Commission and not from any other government agencies.

Mr Suri said the court cannot rely on the suspension letter that prosecution tendered to the court.

The matter was then adjourned to February 23 for the prosecution to respond to Mr Suri’s arguments.

Sikua’s varied bail condition will remain the same until this issue of the legality of his suspension is resolved in court.

His case was brought to the court yesterday purposely to review his bail conditions after he was served with his suspension letter last Thursday.

The court had earlier varied his initial bail conditions, allowing him to return to his office to perform his duties.

His initial bail conditions restricted him to enter his office, other government offices, and restricted him of government properties.

Sikua is facing seven counts of official corruption 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 had made payments of $630,436.50 to Beeds Investments for these services.

Prosecution further alleged that Sikua used his position of power and influence 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

 

 


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