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Police receive complaint

Mere Naleba
Saturday, January 11, 2014

POLICE chief operations officer ACP Rusiate Tudravu has confirmed receiving a letter from a remand inmate complaining of negligent police officers and corruption and abuse of office by Fiji Corrections Service officers.

Remand inmate Josua Natekuru, in a letter to ACP Tudravu, complained that the wardens ate the inmates' food rations and sexually harassed inmates' wives and that police officers delivered them late to court.

Natekuru wrote that when he questioned a warden at the Lautoka Corrections Centre why he had eaten the prisoners' rations, the officer told him the commissioner had given him authority do so.

"Officers are paid by the government for their services," Natekuru wrote in his letter.

"Eating prisoners' food is using their authority for personal gain, which is sheer corruption.

"If these officers cannot manage their finances, how can they be entrusted to effectively and efficiently manage the prisoners brought to their care?"

In his letter, Natekuru named an officer in the Nadi Crime Unit for calling the wife of an inmate for sexual favours.

Natekuru, who had been remanded at the Lautoka Corrections Centre, also complained about police escorts arriving late to collect the inmates for their court appearances.

"The Nadi and Namaka police escort team are always arriving late to Natabua to escort the prisoners to court," he wrote.

"This is contempt of court as remand warrants signed by the magistrates clearly state the prisoner must be present in court at 9am."

Natekuru further wrote "reports of police brutality now flood the courts with confessions obtained from suspects by using force, threats, intimidation and deceit thrown out as inadmissible by the courts after voir dire enquiry".

He said police officers committed perjury when lying under oath.

ACP Tudravu said the matter was being handled by the Internal Affairs Division which deals with complaints against police officers.

"I can confirm receiving the letter, it has been referred to them (IAD).

"They will now look at the letter, its contents and take it from there," he said, adding the division would then decide if it needed to be investigated.

However, Prison Commissioner Lieutenant Colonel Ifereimi Vasu said yesterday the Fiji Corrections Service would not investigate its men because they had not received any complaint from the inmate.

"We are not going to take any action unless he comes to us," Lt-Col Vasu said, adding they would not interfere with the police investigations.

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