By JULIA DAIA BORE
THE Correctional Services (CS) acting commissioner Henry Wavik and his deputy Stephen Pokanis left Port Moresby for Enga province yesterday afternoon to inspect the site for Mukurumanda prison’s proposed new jail facilities.
The duo is expected to also meet Enga Governor Peter Ipatas who has been summoned, together with Mr Wavik, to attend National Court next Tuesday to explain why the prison was closed.
Wabag National Court judge Justice Graham Ellis had, on Wednesday, ordered Mr Wavik and Mr Ipatas to explain the closure of the jail and the delay in developments when the National Government had allocated K5 million about five years ago.
Justice Ellis said the transfer of Enga prisoners to Baisu jail in Western Highlands province while Mukurumanda jail closure violated the human rights of the prisoners and remandees.
Mr Wavik and Mr Pokanis, who is CS deputy commissioner policy and planning, are expected to return to the capital on Saturday.
The CS bigwigs swung into action in line with the National Court interim orders demanding there be a report before the court showing meaningful discussions between the CS authorities and the Enga provincial authorities on the operation of Mukurumanda and its continuous lack of facilities and “sub-human” standards of treatment of prisoners.
The issues of the continuing lack of prison facilities in Enga was raised last week in a National Court decision by Justice Ellis who called on the authorities to do something about it immediately.
He said it was “extremely urgent” for the Enga province to build and equip itself with a proper CS institution in Mukurumanda, especially new cells.
He said the current police cells, behind the police station, were condemned for occupancy in November 2008.
Justice Ellis, in the matter of enforcement of basic (human) rights under the Constitution, regarding the lack of CS facilities in Enga province, handed down a decision on Feb 2 for the facilities to be erected for the province immediately.
“To me as a judge, it would be inconsistent to send a person who breaks the law to prison and then ignore the fact that he is in prison in a manner which breaks the law,” Justice Ellis said.