Inquiry panel could be sworn in this week
May 20, 2004
The Presidential Commission of Inquiry set up to investigate the Home Affairs Minister's alleged involvement in organised killings may be formally appointed this week, according to Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon.
Steps to implement the President's decision to appoint a commission are ongoing, Luncheon told reporters yesterday at the Office of the President (OP), at his weekly press briefing.
The placement in the Official Gazette has been done and plans are in train for the persons selected to serve on the commission to take the oath of office this week, he said.
The commission is to investigate to what extent there is evidence of a credible nature to support the allegations that Home Affairs minister was involved in unlawful executions, according to its Terms of Reference.
Justice of Appeal Ian Chang has agreed to serve as Chairman of the commission, which will also include retired Major General Norman McLean and Chairman of the Police Service Commission Ivan Crandon.
Parliamentary opposition parties have rejected the creation of the commission, saying it does not meet their minimum standards and Chang has publicly said the commission may be an exercise in futility if the opposition parties do not support its constitution.
Luncheon commented on this development, saying that there is need to look at the reasons behind his statement. He said allegations and attacks on the integrity of the appointed commissioners have been noted by the OP, which maintains that decision to create the panel allows for a time resolution of the main allegation, that of ministerial misconduct.
Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj has been accused of having intimate knowledge of a group which was initially set up to hunt and kill criminals in the period between 2002 and 2003.