Public Report on the delay in police investigations - September 30, 1998 - Emalus Campus
This report investigates delays in the investigation of nine unrelated complaints to the police alleging the commission of criminal offences. These complaints were made between April 1989 and October 1996. The alleged offences were in respect of alleged misappropriation of funds and, in one case, assault. All of the alleged offenders were influential supporters of political parties. Some were current or former Government ministers, others were senior public servants.
The Ombudsmanís investigation revealed that the police investigations into the alleged offences were mishandled by the police in a number of respects. Most commonly, there was significant delay in the investigations. In several cases, investigations were delayed for a period of years, in one instance, concerning the investigation of a complaint into an alleged misappropriation of funds by a former politician and senior Government employee, the lapse was over 7 years. Several stalled investigations were resumed only after the Ombudsmanís inquiry was commenced.
In addition to the delay, other files were lost, an alleged offender contacted the complainant directly to have the investigation discontinued, a complainantís statement went missing and a charge was withdrawn because of a wrong date.
The inquiry lead the Ombudsman to the conclusion that the administrative practice of the Vanuatu Police Force is defective in that the laws and procedures are not enforced and result in significant delays in prosecution. More specific findings included:
∑ The former Police Commissioner Luc Siba and the then current police Commissioner, Peter Bong breached the Leadership Code in failing to supervise and follow through on investigations of political people and thereby diminished respect for and confidence in the integrity of the Government of Vanuatu.
∑ Former Commissioner Siba, Commissioner Bong, Superintendent Rakau, Inspector Namaka, Inspector Twomey, Sergeant Kali, Corporal Silas, Corporal Toure and Former Chief inspector Andrew Bambara breached the Police Act in failing to complete investigations according to established procedures.
∑ Inspector Namaka and Superintendent Bambara engaged in various instances of improper conduct amounting to a breach of section 1 of the the Police Standing Orders.
∑ That Luc Siba not be re-appointed to any leadership post, nor to any post in the Public Service.
∑ That the Police Service Commission investigate and take any disciplinary proceedings warranted against Peter Bong, George Namaka and Vake Rakau for failing to properly supervise the Police Force.
∑ That Mr Rakau be removed from his post as Officer in Charge of CID to another post in the Police Force which does not require investigative skills and responsibility for the work of others.
∑ That the Commissioner of Police investigate and take warranted disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Andrew Bambara for failing to investigate a particular case where delay had exceeded 7 years.
∑ That the system of administration and investigation be reviewed to minimise undue delays and general inefficiency within the Police Force.
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