Arrest & release of logger from custody by police investigators under spotlight

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Police chief defends action of director of NCID

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Police investigators conflicting actions against a logger is now a subject to internal investigations, after investigators arrested an Asian and placed him in police custody— but he was later released on the same night by the director of National Criminal Investigation Division (NCID).

SBMOnline was informed that on the 21st of July, an Asian logger who is closely associated with the tubi issue on Isabel was arrested by officers from the NCID. The officers in the evening of 21st July arrested the Asian and questioned him and later locked him in the Central Police Station custody. However, on the same night the logger was released by the director of NCID from the Central Police Station.

The release has sparked concerns within the force, with one senior officer explaining that the right thing to do was for the Asian to spend the night in custody and he should be charged in a court of law the next day.

“To release him the same night by the police without any charges is unheard of,” the officer said.

When SBMOnline probed into the matter with the Police Commissioner, Mostyn Mangau today, he confirmed that the incident did occur and it is now a subject to an internal investigation.

Mangau explained that in police investigations there are operating procedures to follow.

In this case, he explained that the complaint was referred to the NCID by Buala Police but investigations into the case have not been completed and there were still a lot to be done.

However, the RSIPF chief further explained that when the processes were not followed and they took the suspect and put him in custody without having the evidence available for the interview – it was an abuse of the process.

Mangau admitted that the NCID officers did not follow the procedure.

The process as explained by Mangau should start with the provision of evidence and the case must be viewed by the director of NCID and he must be satisfied before it goes on to the DPP for vetting.

“If we have the evidence available then we call the suspect for interview before charging him,” he explained.

“But when we do not have the evidence then it is not right. That’s the reason why we had to release the suspect because the case has yet to be completed,” he stated.

Mangau said even the director of NCID had not seen the case file.

“They should investigate first before arresting,” he said.

Meanwhile Mangau said the person who deals with the case file will now be dealt with by the director of NCID for by-passing him in the process.

But when asked by SBMOnline about the neutrality of the director of the case, Mangau defended him stating that the action of the director of NCID is to protect the integrity of the organization and the reputation of RSIPF.

But when further probed if the director too has an interest in the case and how are they going to deal with him? Mangau said the Deputy Commissioner responsible for portfolio (NCID) is also dealing with the issue.

By ROBERT LUKE IROGA, Editor, SBMOnline

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