Government warned - Solomon Star News

Government warned

11 August 2014

Top Australian lawyer warns gov’t over Prendergast’s appointment

A top Australian Lawyer has cautioned the government to think carefully and make a good decision regarding its newly appointed police commissioner Mr Frank Prendergast.

Writing from Australia the lawyer who wishes to remain anonymous told this paper Mr Prendergast is still under investigation by the Australian Federal Police (APF) special select committee.

He said although he had no case before the Federal Court, it does not mean he is cleared from allegations of his involvement in the Christmas Island riots in 2011.

Mr Prendergast a former deputy commissioner of the Australian Federal Police has been tapped saying the riot on Christmas Island was manufactured in a way to get public attention.

He said the appointment of Mr Prendergast as the new police commissioner demands five key areas that needed to be considered by both the Australian government and the government of Solomon Islands.

The lawyer pointed out that in order for a proper decision be made on Mr Prendergast’s appointment, the Australian government must fully disclose to the Solomon islands government the decision of the Australian commission for law enforcement integrity the results of any AFP internal investigation.

He added that the Solomon Islands government must also fully disclose that information to the public of this country to be fully informed.

“Proper consideration of all these matters by the Solomon islands government especially the allegation they manufactured the riots in order to maintain enough resources to be able to intervene in the Solomons,” the lawyer warned.

Adding this will allow Solomon Islands government to decide whether or not Mr Prendergast is the right commissioner of police at this time.

Meanwhile the lawyer said if it happened that the appointment of Mr Prendergast is cancelled, a reconvening of the selection process is paramount to allow a new appointment.

This latest revelations has raised questions over the integrity of the government whether it has been telling the truth to its people.

Last week deputy PM Manasseh Maelanga was quoted as saying, “Mr Prendergast was appointed on merit, based on his professional experience and qualifications making him eminently suitable for the role.”

But the outspoken pressure group the MMF said they do not dispute Mr Prendergast’s experience and qualifications.

“What we question is why appoint a man who is still under investigation over allegations of his involvement in the Christmas Island riot? And if findings of the investigations found Mr Prendergast guilty, what will the government do?

It will be a shameful thing for the government of this country and a slap on the face of the Prime Minister Lilo whoto fall in the trap of Canberra,” Forum president Charles Dausabea said.