Police chief clarifies corruption probes
POLICE Commissioner Frank Prendergast says there many factors that contribute to delays of investigating corruption cases.
Mr Prendergast highlighted this during the Bills and Legislative Committee hearing in Parliament yesterday.
The Committee was scrutinizing the Anti-Corruption Bill, which aims to combat corruption in Solomon Islands in all its forms by:
a) Establishing the Solomon Islands Independent Commission Against Corruption to prevent, investigate, and prosecute corruption offences; and
b) Establishing a system for receiving and managing complaints about potential corruption engaged in by persons in the public and private sector; and
c) Introducing measures to prevent corruption, including raising public awareness about the effects and prevention of corruption.
Mr Prendergast said in Solomon Islands’ context, there were a lot of issues that caused delays to investigations, which he believes the bill will address.
“We have enormous difficulty locating documents, many corruption cases rely on documents,” he told the Bills and Legislative Committee.
“Getting documents and see people from bank on occasions can takes much longer as does in other jurisdictions,” he added.
The police chief said part of it is the weaknesses in record keeping in Solomon Islands.
“Part of it is caused by records being lost in the flooding in 2014, which is a top issue,” he added.
Furthermore, Mr Prendergast said lack of technical means like telephones and surveillance devices were also contributing factors to the difficulty of investigation corruption.
He said in terms of training, police are working hard to have qualified and experienced investigators.
Mr Prendergast said sometimes when they forward their opinion to Director of Public Prosecution on certain cases, it takes time for the DPP to respond.
He said there are 107 cases under investigations – 37 of which are corruption cases.
By EDDIE OSIFELO