By WALLACE KIALA
THE Police and Correctional Services will reopen the case of three prison officers linked to the Bomana jail breakout of suspected bank robber William Nanua Kapris and 11 other high-profiled prisoners in January.
As anger mounted over Tuesday’s bungling of the court case by police at the Waigani Committal Court, Police Commissioner Gari Baki met briefly yesterday with his Correctional Services counterpart, Henry Wavik, “to restart these cases”.
Mr Baki said he would personally investigate the “absolute negligence” by police which led to the charge of helping and abetting John Waka, Ambiang Kera and Allan Maru being struck out by magistrate Fred Tomo.
They were set free because the police officer in charge of the case was attending a workshop at the Bomana Police College and did not turn up at the courthouse to proceed with the case.
The court had given police three months to prepare the case as the three warders, and a fourth, a civilian, were remanded in custody.
As wheels of justice swung into damage control, Mr Wavik said he had issued instructions that the three officers would remain suspended from duty despite being freed by the court.
He said they had been further restrained from going anywhere near CS prison facilities or communicating with the 12 prisoners involved in the Jan 12 escape from the maximum security unit.
“The three had been suspended by the Bomana jail commander prior to their arrest by police so they remain suspended, and I have issued a direction to the Bomana jail to follow through on this,” he said In a statement later, Mr Wavik said he had expected to see their successful prosecution which would have been a deterrent for other CS officers from being involved in the new trend of assisting criminals to escape.
“Prisoners are offering bribes to get out of jail, and even from police cells, court houses and hospitals.
“I am sure Mr Baki will assign a competent police officer to restart these cases.
“The whole nation is waiting to see the outcome of the arrest and the prosecution of those accused officers.”
Mr Baki said: “Disciplinary action will be taken against the arresting officer and those working on the investigation files.
“I will personally get to the bottom of the problem to find out what went wrong and what is delaying police preparation of criminal files.”
He said police would do their best in the interest of the country as the cases were “sensitive”.
“It is becoming all too frequent that criminal files being prepared by police are delaying important court proceedings.
“This is also causing a backlog of outstanding cases in both the national and district courts.
“The arresting officers and police personnel working on the files will be disciplined.”
Mr Baki said he would comment further after he had been properly briefed by relevant officers.
“But what had happened has painted a negative picture of the police force and the country.”