SOLOMONS TO PAY POLICE COMMISSIONER TO LEAVE

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By Joy A. Rikimae

HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Feb. 11, 2008) - Cabinet has decided to give embattled Police Commissioner Jahir Khan a better offer to help his departure.

Press Secretary to the Prime Minister, George Atkin, said initially when Prime Minister Dr. Derek Sikua wrote to Mr. Khan he only gave two options. They are to resign or face a tribunal under the Police Act. Now he has been offered the option of resigning and getting three months of pay plus all his entitlements, Mr. Atkin said.

Sikua wants Khan to resign because there are allegations against him. Khan was controversially appointed by the former Sogavare Government. Khan has told the Solomon Star the reason he was being pressured was he ordered corruption investigation into parliamentarians now in the Sikua Government.

The Commissioner yesterday said he is still waiting on the Prime Minister’s reply to his letter. He said he has not yet made up his own mind over what to do. He said now that Cabinet had made its decision he will look into it and choose one of the options. Khan refuted claims by some news media that he had resigned.

"I have not resigned as yet," he said. "I am yet to decide and before I do that I need to look at those options."

Meanwhile, Khan said the government’s best option is to appoint a Melanesian Commissioner. Any other choice would be a mistake, he said. He said a Melanesian Commissioner would understand the needs of Solomon Islanders and approach them with understanding. This is because Melanesians understood the culture and customs.

The Commissioner said if the Solomon Islands Government does not want him then there are other offers he could choose from.

"Since the news broke I have received several offers, a couple I have considered are from Fiji and the U.S.," he said.

Khan said he is glad he had achieved some changes for the work of police with the communities here. He said it is sad to see the work of police affected by politics.

"Police should be left alone to do their work," he said. "It is not good government politicizing the independent work of the police." He said changing Police Commissioners regularly is also bad for the morale of the local police.

Khan has been very vocal about the capacity development of the Solomon Islands Police Force since he came in last year

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