Prison cop investigated for collecting money from prisoners

Tafaigata Prison which members of the Commission of Inquiry visited yesterday.

One of the prison wards of the Tafaigata Prison

Lagi Keresoma

APIA: SATURDAY 18 JANUARY 2014: A senior policeman charged prisoners $5 each to dance.

The allegation came from prisoners.

They complained that Senior Sergeant Kerisiano Lale initiated a dance for inmates of Tafa’igata Prison and then charged them $5 to get up and dance.

One of the longest serving officers at Tafa’igata, Senior Sergeant Lale has been transferred to headquarters in Apia while the Professional Standards Unit (PSU) investigates the allegation, Assistant Commissioner of Police Fauono Talalelei Tapu said.

The complaint puts Senior Sergeant Lale’s professionalism under question, Assistant Commissioner Tapu said.

He said report from Tafaigata says that “although there was singing and dancing, it was not a paid siva (dance) as alleged by the complainants.”

It appeared one of the prisoners, musician Peti Key was strumming his guitar during a break in work outdoors and his fellow inmates started to sing and dance along to the music.

Senior Sergeant Lale allowed the entertainment to occur before work resumed, the report said.