7 Nov 2002

Solomon Islands PM says Police Commissioner's resignation not caused by government interference

12:16 pm on 7 November 2002

Solomon Islands outgoing Police Commissioner, Morton Sireheti, has indicated political interference encouraged him to resign.

He has advised his likely British successor to dedicate himself to the service of the country, not his political masters.

He says on at least five occasions in the past month, the Prime Minister, his Cabinet Ministers, members of his caucus, and advisors paid for by the New Zealand Government have directed him to rehire a New Zealander, Mark Emery.

Mr Sireheti had sacked Mr Emery in August for what he termed breaches of security, and has refused to reinstate him.

He says the Government claimed to have increased concerns about security in the absence of Mr Emery.

The Prime Minister, Sir Allan Kemakeza, rejects pressuring the Commissioner, but says they did want to discuss the sacking, because of the work Mr Emery had been doing in organising the security for government offices.

"He has done an excellent job for the security of government departments like Foreign affairs and he should be continuing that work unless the commissioner has a case to decide on in his termination, but that is the commisioner's decision."