Ombudsman under threat
By Harlyne Joku
Ombudsman Commissioner John Nero yesterday claimed that Correctional Services CS Commissioner Richard Sikani threatened twice to gun him down. Mr Nero said Mr Sikani’s threats were issued in two letters; the first on April 6 and the second on May 18 this year.
According to Mr Nero, Mr Sikani’s threats are related to his (Nero’s) announcement of Mr Sikani’s referral to the office of the Public Prosecutor over alleged misconduct in office. Mr Sikani has since sought review of the matter with the National Court which granted an exparte review on March 11, 2010.
Mr Nero told the media that the threats in the two letters read: “More missiles loaded in the AR 15 semi automatic Rifle still remaining in the chamber will be firing at you..” (6th of April) and; “I have already informed you that more bullets have been loaded remaining in the chamber of the Self Loading Automatic AR 15 Rifle for rapid firing at you as a person continuously.
“It cannot be more blatant and direct than this. It is an act of someone who has little regard for the rule of the law,” he said. “I or anyone for that matter from the Commission does not deserve to be shot by a Semi Automatic Rifle for doing our job,” an angry Mr Nero told a press conference at the Ombudsman Commission at Deloittes Tower yesterday.
But Mr Sikani when contacted to comment yesterday afternoon about Mr Nero’s claim was equally angry too. “He (Nero) is lying. I said I was going to sue him- not gun him down. I gave him a notice that I will personally sue him for damages and malicious prosecution,” Mr Sikani shouted on phone to the Post Courier.
He added that Mr Nero cannot run away from his actions. “People have to stand up and face their own illegal dealings. Now that I have won my case, he (Nero) is crying out to the media because I want to sue him for his actions.”
Mr Nero however, said Mr Sikani is no ordinary person. “He is a semi militarily trained person, a head of a disciplined force who has exposure to ammunition that is direct command and control. He has the capacity to actually carry out threats which makes it quite real and serious,” he said.
He said the issue is more complicated when Mr Sikani is writing in his official capacity as Head of CS using the official letter head. “That is not a good reflection on anyone, certainly not his department and ministry. It is a disgrace,” Mr Nero said. He added that the substantive review of the case of Mr Sikani is yet to be argued and he (Sikani) has an obligation to comply with the National Court.
Mr Nero has also written and referred the matter to the Police Commissioner-Operations on the 7th of June.
A couple of years back the Chief Ombudsman was shot at and wounded and now a threat is issued on an Ombudsman’s life.
The challenge is now for Commissioner of Police to stamp his mark and protect Constitutional Office holders, judges and other public officials and so they can freely do their work, Mr Nero said.
He said he has also copied the complaint to acting Prime Minister and CS Minister for their attention.