Marat’s prison visit a waste of time

Editorial, Normal

THE entourage led by Attroney-General and Justice Minister Dr Allan Marat to visit high-profile prisoner William Kapris was known immediately after his visit so the media statement this week admitting the fact comes way too late.
What is news is what was discussed in this unprecedented meeting between prisoner and Minister for State.
We would have wanted to know more but it seems battery failure on a dictaphone was responsible for an important confession not being made.
It would seem such a terrible waste of the Attorney-General’s valuable time to have gone to the jail just to elicit a prisoner’s concern about the state of the economy of Papua New Guinea.
Such time might have been better spent with the outgoing governor of the Central Bank, Sir Wilson Kamit, who would most certainly have given a far more informed opinion on the state of this country’s economy and possible strategies and future directions.
Be that as it may, we are certain that Kapris might have said more but the good Attorney-General might judge it to be not politically expedient to divulge all at the present time.
A couple of points must be made, however.
Now the Attorney-General has seen fit to visit a prisoner in jail, he has set a precedent.
It might become necessary, for fairness’ sake and to follow the dictates of sections 154 and 156 of the Constitution, to adhere to requests by other prisoners in future to visit them in their cells to hear their grievances.
We can well anticipate 1,000 prisoners in all our jails throughout the country to make similar requests.
It will also become necessary to have to consider all future requests by prisoners to turn State witnesses on condition of leniency.
This might well turn out to be a favourite tool by which big-time criminals are turned back to society after spending a minimal of time behind bars. Such is not necessarily the type of position ministers of State might want to be placed in.
Still, we have it from Kapris himself that at least two other ministers visited him and that politicians have assisted him and his gang members in past robberies.
Why ministers should take any interest in a prisoner is a very important question that begs asking and, especially, for it to be answered?
All we can surmise from reports we have gathered so far is that this prisoner attracts all the attention he does from the powers that be because of two things alone.
Much of the money taken in the robberies that Kapris and his accomplices are implicated in remains yet to be recovered. If it is stashed away somewhere safe, it would be a most tempting idea to befriend this prisoner in the hope that the whereabouts of the money might be revealed.
The first robbery which Kapris is implicated in is the Metals Refining Operations (MRO) robbery where much in gold bullion bars is said to have been taken.
It is understood much of those precious metals might remain unsold, or if they have been sold, then the proceeds remain somewhere.
Secondly, it might indeed turn out to be true that people in high places have actually helped in the robberies.
It would make sense to appeal to Kapris and company to keep their mouths shut. So, which scenario is it, we wonder?
Both might turn out to be true.
In any case, the visit by one or more State ministers to a prisoner who is implicated in a string of very serious robberies is without precedent and the ministers responsible ought to be chided at the very least.
If the visits, particularly the one by the Attorney-General, were done in the interest of administration of justice, how is it that this case is dragging on for many months?
One would have hoped that a deal was cut out and the prisoner and his suspect accomplices sent to trial quickly.
It is apparent from what Dr Marat was telling the media this week that no such deals were cut.
The visit was – well, it was just a visit.
Nothing came off it and that’s all there is to it.