By JULIA DAIA BORE
POLICE commissioner Gari Baki has informed Enga’s resident judge Justice Graham Ellis that the Wabag police cells would be renovated or replaced.
Justice Ellis received a letter on Tuesday from Mr Baki saying a police logistics team would be deployed to inspect the cells and recommend action to be taken.
The judge expressed pleasure of the “favourable developments” for the police cells which were declared, by the health authorities in 2009, as “unfit for human occupation”.
Justice Ellis had, in sentencing a case last month, ruled that it was a breach of human rights to place remandees and prisoners in the cells.
When nothing was done to improve the conditions, Justice Ellis led his staff to clean up the cells two Sundays ago.
He also offered a live pig as a lucky-dip to reward volunteers who registered to help scrub the cells every second Sunday.
Justice Ellis said another letter arrived from the acting district administrator of the Enga provincial government yesterday which he released in full:
“It is with great interest that the Open Member for Wabag, The Honourable Sam Abal, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Immigration read about your condemnation of the Wabag police cells.
“The Minister applauds your stand. In fact, he has informed me to inform you that he is pledging K100,000 to the refurbishment of the Wabag police cells and at the same (time) asking his fellow Open Members of Enga to do the same. The balance of any cost is to be met by the provincial government.
“I have informed the district foreman to do a scope of works so that work can start immediately.
“It may interest you to know that our health inspector had condemned the cells in late 2009 and our architect has submitted plans for funding to construct a new cell block. Unfortunately, the plans and document are in his computer that is at present being repaired in Mt Hagen. As soon as it is returned I will forward you a copy.
“Our consultant, Peter Hunter and myself look forward to meeting you.”
Justice Ellis said: “I do not think it is necessary for the consultant to meet with me.
“There should obviously be contact between someone in the office of the police commissioner and someone in the Enga provincial government in order to ensure that the condition of the police cells in Wabag is addressed in a cooperative manner so that the problem can be fixed efficiently, without any waste of time or money.