Friday, 31 August 2007 9:41 AM

Castles Appointment Dubious: Sogavare

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said the appointment of the former Commissioner of Police, Shane Castles of Australia was dubious.

Mr Sogavare told Parliament that the Australian Federal Agent was appointed at the insistence of Canberra despite the fact the nominating committee selected somebody else for the Commissioner of Police post.

The Prime Minister made the revelation in response to the media campaign the Civil Society Group and other non-governmental organizations have launched against the government's appointment of the new police commissioner, Indo Fijian, Mohammed Jahir Khan.

The government complied with the right procedures in the recruitment of Mr Khan after terminating Mr Castles from the top police post for loyalty reasons.

Mr Sogavare said he could not understand the 'nonsense' the Civil Society Group, the Transparency Solomon Islands, the National Council of Women and the Trade Union were going on about the appointment of Mr Khan despite being lawful but were silent on the 'dubious' recruitment of Mr Castles.

"There was no consultation between the Prime Minister then and the Police and Prison Services Commission. In fact the correspondence in the file clearly suggests that the Police and Prison Services Commission was directed to make the appointment (of Mr Castles) under threat.

"What do you call that or because it involves an Australian so to hell with procedures? Does that make sense? I want the house to see the hypocrisy in all these.

"Isn't that cronyism? Or is it because he is an Australian coming under the RAMSI arrangement and so we must bow down to them," Mr Sogavare asked.