How much more could go wrong in the Halatau Naitoko case?
First, members of the armed offenders squad accidentally shot and killed the young courier driver, then at a press conference this week, assistant police commissioner Alan Boreham blurted out to the assembled media that Halatau's mum Ivoni Fuimaono would be receiving $100,000 compensation, plus $25,000 in legal costs, on top of the $100,000 she'd already received immediately after Halatau's death.
Fuimaono spoke graciously at the press conference and reminded people that no money would make up for the loss of her boy but inside she was seething. The first payment of $100,000 was confidential. That had been stressed to her by police representatives at the time. She was to tell no one, not even her family, about the money.
Now assistant commissioner Boreham had told the whole world. I know times are tough but can police administration not afford a little rubber stamp with "confidential" on it?
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The small payment made to a truck driver caught in the 2009 incident was also revealed by the assistant commissioner - again, that was supposed to be confidential.
Three questions. One, how did this stuff up occur?
Two, why are the payments confidential? It's public money. If the police have made such grievous errors that they feel the need to compensate individuals with taxpayer money, doesn't the taxpayer have the right to know the details of the payout?
And three, how many zeros of public money are going to be needed for this latest apology?