Rambi: NEC to step in on row

Main Stories, National

INTERNAL Security Minister Sani Rambi yesterday admitted the Government’s hand in the problems confronting the top hierarchy of the police force, and promised to go to Cabinet today to have it resolved.
A press conference was arranged at the police headquarters at Konedobu where Police Commissioner Gari Baki spoke to reporters first, and Mr Rambi joined about 30 minutes later.
Both Mr Baki and Mr Rambi were concerned about the headlines Mr Baki has been making in the last three days, relating to the court case between him and Tony Wagambie, and another case filed by Raphael Huafolo, and Mr Baki’s decision to bring back Geoffery Vaki from suspension.
Both were concerned that the media publicity was giving the impression the police force was divided, and deviating away from its responsibility to fight crime and maintain law and order.
Mr Baki also criticised The National for reporting on its front page that he had filed a legal challenge against the National Executive Council, when that action was actually a judicial review proceeding instituted by Mr Huafolo relating to his appointment.
Mr Baki said at no stage in the whole saga was he challenging the NEC, the appointing authority.
Mr Baki said Mr Huafolo was seeking to ask the courts to rule that the NEC had acted improperly and outside of its jurisdiction in appointing Mr Wagambie under section 49 of the Police Force Act1998 to the position of acting deputy commissioner of police.
Mr Baki said he had made the decision to bring Mr Vaki back after a year out in the cold. Mr Vaki was suspended to allow police investigations into alleged abuse of a female companion. He was cleared by the court later.
Following Mr Vaki’s suspension, Mr Huafolo was appointed to act as deputy commissioner by Mr Baki.
But it appears that NEC decided to appoint Mr Wagambie when the submission to suspend Mr Vaki was brought to NEC.
Mr Wagambi’s case is before the court, and a contempt proceeding against Mr Baki is related to this.
Asked if bringing a fresh NEC submission to reinstate Mr Vaki would be disrespect of the court, which is dealing with these issues, Mr Rambi said he did not think so.
“I’m taking a submission back to NEC to recall Mr Vaki, to confirm his appointment. The court process is there, and we respect it. But these are urgent issues within the force which we have to deal with.
“The submission might go to NEC tomorrow (today).
“There are rumours the Government is split about this. I can assure you we are not. I met the Prime Minister on Tuesday and briefed him, and he said to allow the court to take its course.”