Public report on the improper appointment of Mr. Luc Siba as the Commissioner of Police and his misconduct in office – August 13, 1998 - Emalus Campus
Mr. Luc Siba was appointed as the Commissioner of Police on September 9, 1994. His appointment was made despite the fact that he had previously been dismissed from the police force for misconduct, had been twice convicted of criminal offences and been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for each offence. He did not submit a written application for the position of Police Commissioner. Rather, his appointment was made, in preference to a qualified applicant as a result of political pressure from the Prime Minister Maxime Carlot Korman and his First Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr. Gerard Leymang. The Police Service Commission, acting under pressure recommended the appointment of Mr. Siba to the President who made the appointment. (Note: The Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over the President and this report therefore makes no findings or judgments about the actions of the President in relation to this matter.)
Between his appointment in September 1994 and his resignation in February 1977, Commissioner Siba was involved in several instances of misconduct. In January 1995, he while driving a police vehicle he had an accident. He subsequently pleaded guilty to criminal charges of careless driving and drunk driving in relation to this accident. The Police Service Commission imposed a fine of 14 days’ pay in relation to this offence. Mr. Siba appealed directly to the Prime Minister in relation to this fine and the Prime Minister informed Mr. Perei, the Chairman of the Police Service Commission that he had upheld Mr. Siba’s appeal. There is no legal basis for the Prime Minister to hear and decide upon disciplinary matters within the jurisdiction of the Police Service Commission.
On November 9, 1995, Mr. Siba caused a traffic accident while driving a police vehicle. In January 1996, Mr. Siba, using a police vehicle, took another policeman and two women to a remote location where they consumed alcohol and got the vehicle stuck. On April 30, 1996 Mr. Siba told the Public Prosecutor that he was being discriminated against because he was being investigated for misappropriation of funds when other Government employees who had also misappropriated funds were not. On October 14, 1996, Mr. Siba was suspended. On February 14, 1997, he resigned.
The Public Report deals at some length with the responses of Mr. Gerard Leymang, the Prime Minister’s First Secretary. He asks “..what is wrong with a Government which sees to it that the Police Commissioner of its choice who will not work against it, is appointed?” He further indicates that the practice of appointing a political “puppet” with the mere appearance of an appointment by the Police Commission has been the normal practice in Vanuatu. The report highlights the inconsistency of this attitude with the requirements of the rule of law.
The appointment of Mr. Siba was contrary to the provisions of the Police Act. The actions of the Prime Minister, Mr. Korman and Mr. Leymang in the appointment were contrary to the provisions of the Leadership Code. Messrs. Andeng, Mansale Rakau and Mme. Growby, members of the Police Service Commission acted unreasonably and with irrelevant motives in succumbing to political pressure and not acting independently. Mr. Luc Siba broke the law while Police Commissioner and was in breach of the Leadership Code.
· That Mr. Perei not be re-appointed onto any Government statutory body or commission in the future.
· That Messrs. Andeng, Mansale, Rakau and Mme. Growby not be appointed as members of any commissions of the Government or statutory bodies.
· That Mr. Maxime Carlot Korman not be appointed to any office of responsibility.
· That Mr. Leymang not be appointed to any Government or statutory body responsible for making appointments.
· That Mr. Luc Siba never be appointed to any leadership post again or any post in the Public Service.
· That guidelines on the duties and obligation of the Police Service Commission be established to enable it to carry out its legal obligations.
· That future appointments of Police Commissioners be made on merit with a fair consideration of all applicants.
Written by Edward R. Hill
UNDP Governance and Accountability Project
© Ombudsman of Vanuatu
Published here by University of the South Pacific, School of Law Web Site - www.vanuatu.usp.ac.fj