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Replies to Parliamentary Questions

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION

B/80

The Honourable First Member for Grand River North West and
Port Louis West (Mr David)

 

To ask the Honourable Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications, Minister for Rodrigues, Outer Islands and Territorial Integrity –

 

Whether, in regard to alleged cases of police brutality towards members of the S. family on 24 March 2020 in Residence Vallijee, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the Commissioner of Police, information as to where matters stand as to the inquiry initiated thereinto, indicating the number of Police Officers involved therein and actions taken in relation thereto, if any?

 

REPLY

 

Mr Speaker, Sir,

 

As the House is aware, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a curfew order was issued on 22 March 2020 so as to prevent and mitigate the spread of the disease.  The order, inter-alia, stipulated that no person shall remain outdoors in Mauritius as from 23 March 2020 at 20.00 hours.

 

I am informed by the Commissioner of Police that on Tuesday 24 March 2020 at about 08.37 hours, a team of Police Officers from Bain des Dames Police Station was on mobile patrol at Residence Vallijee, Bain des Dames in order to ensure compliance to the Curfew Order.

 

At about 09.30 hours, the Police Officers came across a group of persons at Corner Dahlia and Chopin Streets at Residence Vallijee, near the residence of S. family.  The Police Officers cautioned them to remain indoors and requested them to disperse peacefully to their respective residence.  However, they refused to comply, turned hostile and started addressing the Police officers in filthy terms.  Some of them including Mr. R. S. and Mr. B. S. started throwing projectiles on Police officers and the Police vehicle.  Consequently, three Police Officers were injured and the Police vehicle was damaged.  In view of the prevailing situation, the team of Police Officers left Residence Vallijee for Bain des Dames Police Station.

 

Mr Speaker, Sir,

 

I am further informed that, in view of the seriousness of this incident, on the same day at about 11.00 hours, the Station Manager of Bain des Dames Police Station carried out an operation with the support of other Units of the Force to arrest the two suspects at the residence of S. family. In the course of the operation, the two suspects namely, Mr. R. S. and Mr. B. S. resisted and struggled with the Police.  They were arrested and brought to Line Barracks Detention Centre.  As they were injured, they were conveyed to Dr. Jeetoo Hospital at about 15.00 hours for treatment on the same day.  Subsequently, Mr. B. S. was detained at Line Barracks Detention Centre.  Mr. R. S. was detained on 25 March 2020 as he was discharged from hospital on that day. Two Police officers were injured and received treatment at Dr. Jeetoo Hospital.

 

Mr Speaker, Sir,

 

On 25 March 2020, both accused were provisionally charged with the offence of ‘Damaging Property by Band’ in breach of Section 352 of the Criminal Code.  Police objected to their release from bail and they were both remanded to Police cell until 1 April 2020.  They were detained at the Line Barracks Detention Centre.

 

On 25 March 2020 itself at about 20.30 hours, after Mr B.S and Mr R.S complained about their health, they were both conveyed to Dr. Jeetoo Hospital where they were admitted. They were discharged from hospital on 28 and 29 March 2020 respectively. They were again detained at Line Barracks Detention Centre.

 

Mr Speaker, Sir,

 

On 1 April 2020, both detainees appeared before Port Louis District Court and they were released on bail after having each furnished a surety of Rs 5000/- and a recognizance of Rs 20,000/-.

 

Subsequent to a video clip being shared on the social media showing some Police Officers using violence against these two individuals, the then Commissioner of Police announced during a Press Conference on 25 March 2020 that the Central Criminal Investigation Department has been entrusted the responsibility to conduct an enquiry into the matter.

 

In the course of the investigation, on 26 March 2020, one Police Constable was arrested. On 27 March 2020, he was provisionally charged with the offence of ‘Torture by Public Officer’ before the Magistrate of District Court of Port Louis and released on bail after furnishing a surety of Rs 5000/- and a recognizance of Rs 20,000/-. On 27 March 2020, he was interdicted from duty.

 

Mr Speaker, Sir,

 

I am informed that as at 05 June 2020, statements have been recorded from several Police officers with a view to establishing the exact facts and circumstances of the case.

 

I am further informed that for the sake of transparency, Police has on its own initiative reported the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).  A certified true copy of the Case File and a full report showing the status of the Police enquiry have been handed over to the Commission for investigation.

 

Mr Speaker, Sir,

 

Without prejudice to the investigation being conducted at the level of the IPCC, I severely condemn all acts of brutality, including those perpetrated by the Police.  Such behaviour cannot be tolerated since Police Officers are supposed to be upholding the law and protecting citizens.

 

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09.06.2020

PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION

B/79

The Honourable Third Member for Port Louis Maritime and Port Louis East
(Mr Ameer Meea)

 

To ask the Honourable Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications, Minister for Rodrigues, Outer Islands and Territorial Integrity –

 

Whether, in regard to fatal road accidents, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the Commissioner of Police, information as to the number of reported cases thereof for each of the years 2017, 2018, 2019 and since January 2020 to date?

 

REPLY

 

Mr Speaker, Sir,

 

I am informed by the Commissioner of Police that during the period January 2017 to 08 June 2020, four hundred and fifty-six fatal road accidents have been reported as follows:

 

Year 2017          :152

Year 2018           :132

Year 2019           :130

From 01 January 2020 to 08 June 2020 :42

 

A total number of four hundred and eighty-eight persons have unfortunately lost their lives during these accidents.

 

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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION

 

B/78

 

The Honourable Second Member for La Caverne and Phoenix
(Mr Assirvaden)

 

To ask the Honourable Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications, Minister for Rodrigues, Outer Islands and Territorial Integrity –

 

Whether, in regard to the post of Director General of the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation, he will (a) for the benefit of the House, obtain therefrom, information as to the number of incumbents thereof since January 2015 to date, indicating the (i) number thereof having held office in a substantive capacity and (ii) reasons for the said turnover and (b) state if consideration will be given for a review of the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation Act in relation to the appointment of the General Director and, if not, why not?

 

REPLY

 

Mr Speaker, Sir,

 

The Director-General of the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation is appointed under section 13(2)(a) of the MBC Act, which provides that,

I quote –

 

The Director General shall be appointed by the Minister, with the approval of the Prime Minister on such terms and conditions as he thinks fit.”

                                      Unquote

 

In regard to part (a) of the Question, since January 2015 to date, five persons were appointed successively as Director-General of the MBC on a contractual basis, including the present one who has been appointed in an acting capacity.

 

In addition, three persons were appointed, at different periods, to act as Officer-in-Charge of the Corporation, as a temporary measure, pending the filling of the post of Director-General.

 

Mr Speaker, Sir,

 

In regard to part (a)(i) of the Question, as I just mentioned, the terms, and conditions of appointment of the Director-General are determined by the Prime Minister, pursuant to section 13(2)(a) of the MBC Act. The appointment of the Director-General of the MBC is normally made on a contractual basis for a fixed term of office and no appointment is made in a substantive capacity.

 

In regard to part (a)(ii) of the Question, two out of the five Director-Generals resigned from the post for personal reasons. One of the remaining three was invited to vacate his office on 24 August 2015 as he had already indicated that he would not be willing to continue for a further term. Another one left the post on 21 May 2017 to take up appointment as Chief Executive Officer of the MultiCarrier (Mauritius) Ltd.

 

Mr Speaker, Sir,

 

In regard to part (b) of the Question, it is not proposed to bring any amendment to the provisions of the MBC Act regarding the appointment of the Director-General.

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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION

 

B/77

 

The Honourable Fourth Member for Grand River North West and
Port Louis West (Mrs Navarre-Marie)

 

To ask the Honourable Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications, Minister for Rodrigues, Outer Islands and Territorial Integrity –

 

Whether, in regard to police custody deaths in Mauritius, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the Commissioner of Police, information as to the number thereof since December 2019 to date, indicating the outcome of the inquiry in each case, including the (a) cause of death and (b) if any Police Officer has been suspended in connection therewith?

 

B/84

The Honourable Third Member for Belle Rose and Quatre Bornes
(Mr Xavier-Luc Duval)

 

To ask the Honourable Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications, Minister for Rodrigues, Outer Islands and Territorial Integrity –

 

Whether, in regard to Police custody deaths in Mauritius, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain from the Commissioner of Police, information as to the number thereof since November 2019 to date, indicating in each case, the outcome of the inquiries carried out thereinto as at to date, including the cause of death?

 

REPLY

 

Mr Speaker, Sir,

 

I will reply to Parliamentary Questions B/77 and B/84 together as they relate to the same subject matter.

 

Mr Speaker, Sir,

 

I am informed by the Commissioner of Police that since November 2019 to date, three (3) persons have died in Police custody. Details pertaining thereto are as follows:

 

  • On 10 March 2020, Mr M.D.M, aged 25, died at Vacoas Detention Centre, the cause of death being Asphyxia due to hanging;
  • On 20 March 2020, Mr A.B, a Malagasy National, aged 48 years died at Jeetoo Hospital of Subarachnoid Haemorrhage due to drug concealment in his body, and
  • On 13 May 2020, Mr J.D.M.U, aged 29 years, passed away in a cell at Trou D’eau Douce Police Station and the cause of death was Asphyxia due to hanging.

 

Police enquiry is ongoing in the three cases.

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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION

 

B/75

 

The Honourable First Member for Beau Bassin and Petite Rivière
(Mr Bhagwan)

 

To ask the Honourable Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications, Minister for Rodrigues, Outer Islands and Territorial Integrity –

 

Whether, in regard to the Information and Communication Technologies Authority, he will, for the benefit of the House, obtain therefrom, information as to if consideration will be given for a review of the salaries and fringe benefits of the Executive Directors and Director thereof in the wake of the financial difficulties amid the COVID-19 Pandemic?

 

REPLY

 

Mr Speaker, Sir,

 

The Information and Communications Technologies Authority (ICTA) is currently composed of the following:

 

  • One Director of Engineering who is also the Officer-in-Charge as the post of Executive Director is vacant;
  • One Director of Finance and Administration; and
  • One Director of IT.

 

I am informed that the management of the ICTA is considering different cost cutting measures, in view of the financial difficulties which have arisen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes expenses related to the Top Management.

 

I am further informed that, as soon as the proposals are finalised, these will be submitted to the ICT Board for consideration.

 

 

 

 

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