The National, Monday July 15th, 2013
IT has been suggested variously that the cost of maintaining a former prisoner has run into tens of millions of kina.
A figure of K50 million has been suggested by one senior warder.
Now that prisoner, William Nanua Kapris, is free as a bird, having escaped from the clutches of Bomana prison the second time with the support of prison officers.
He is still at large, now going into the second month and from the looks of, it has made a mockery of the combined correctional and constabulary of the country.
Bounties have been put on his head and nobody is turning up with credible information on his whereabouts.
The state does like spending money on prisoners like Kapris, it seems, almost as if it is also interested in getting on the notoriety train.
For prisoner Kapris, an Air Niugini aircraft was chartered in May 2011 to fly him to and from Madang for the Madang robbery trial. That would surely have cost a bundle.
Then for the Kerema BSP bank robbery trial which took nearly five months, a special national court was set up within the Bomana prison grounds.
Each time the prisoner has been moved around from prison to court and back, roads have been cordoned off and traffic has been halted. The security cars escorting the prisoner has rivalled and even bettered that paid to a visiting head of government.
The reason for all this attention is twofold. The first is that friends and colleagues of this prisoner might try to spring the prisoner when he is being transported. That is a very real possibility, particularly since much of the stolen cash has not been retrieved and is believed to be still available to him as and when he needs it. He can pay to be sprung.
That really is not necessary because he can do the same closer to home – by paying off prisoner officers – to satisfy his carnal desires as well as to escape from prison.
The second far less known reason offered is that there is a price on Kapris’ head in the criminal network itself.
This theory has been strengthened in the minds of the CIS management by constant threatening calls by unknown persons who threaten to come into the prison or intercept him during transportation to kill him. This was further strengthened when on Jan 25, 2013 prisoner Shane Aitsi was stabbed and killed in Bomana prison. It is alleged he was part of a group going after Kapris and that Kapris and his group were responsible for Aitsi’s death. Kapris has been implicated in the killing.
The threat to Kapris is what stopped the National Court from convening at the crime in Kerema, shifting it to Bomana.
There appears to be no intelligence analysis of these calls. Who is after the prisoner? Why do these persons want Kapris dead?
Surely the answer to these questions are of great interest and might stop the huge expense the state is putting up for this one prisoner?
One popular explanation extended has been that Kapris has a lot of information on many people on the outside, many in important positions who may have aided, abetted and benefited from his crimes. He has nothing to lose as a prisoner but reveal information which would put those people under a cloud. There would be some explanation expected were that to happen.
Certainly, this is a credible scenario as Kapris has once before named names, including those of MPs when giving evidence in court.
One judge believes this explanation, so much so that he has said Kapris is really a “sacrificial lamb”, who was used by high-profile people to conduct such robberies, just for their interest, and he was being punished while they got off scot free.
Kapris’ escape gives further credence to the theory that important people are after him. If he really was being threatened by other criminal elements then escape should be the last thing on his mind. It would be like jumping from out of the frying pan into the fire, into the clutches of those who want to do him in.
On the other hand, it makes sense for him to be free because so long as he is, he will not be able to spill the beans giving evidence before the court.
If this is true, he might be sheltered in homes that would escape police scrutiny and is perhaps not living the frantic live of a prison escapee. He is being waited on hand and foot and it may take a long time for the law to catch up with him, if at all.