CLAIMS have emerged that the Executive of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) ‘hijacked’ the process in releasing on bail Knoxley Atu – the president of M4D – an outlawed organization.
Atu’s terms of release were allegedly hammered out behind closed door in a motel room where he was held for a week-long interrogation, In doing so, the RSIPF Executive bypassed the Criminal Investigation Division (CID), which is principally responsible for setting bail conditions based on the seriousness of the crime the suspect was alleged to have committed.
Atu was released last Friday and left for Auki via Pelican Express in the afternoon. He was interrogated by the Director of the Public Prosecution (DPP) and her deputy. But the high-profile case was handled by the Police Executive, ignoring the traditional practice of involving investigators from the CID in setting bail conditions.
The CID has confirmed through good governance authorities on Malaita that the CID was bypassed by the Police Executive in dealing with Atu’s case.
That has created a rift between the Police Executive and lower ranking officers who have questioned Police Commissioner’s decision to hijack the case from the CID.
“It’s a bad precedent, however way one looks at it. The Commissioner is accountable for this,” one local good governance official said.
“Suspects in high profile cases such as Atu’s will now be expecting first class treatment, such as hotel accommodation, free meals and some pocket money,” the official said.
Many suspect Atu’s ‘surrender’ and subsequent release last week was politically motivated.
Atu faces several unspecified charges and is due to appear in the Honiara Central Magistrates Court on Monday 20th June.
Several people have questioned why Mr. Atu’s case was given special treatment.
“This whole thing needs to be investigated because it could end up in a rift within the RSIPF, similar to the build-up to the ethnic tension of more than 20 years ago.
Mr. Atu’s presence in Auki has reportedly created a problem of its own for Premier Daniel Suidani and his advisor, Celsus Talifilu. According to observers, both men are keeping their distance because Atu is not “at all happy” having ended up the way he did.
“Everything he did was at the behest of someone. Now he felt really betrayed and being in that frame of mind could trigger something within even if it was never intended, simply to regain his integrity,” the observer said.
By Alfred Sasako