Free after 23 years in jail


Rockson Konaga. Photo: CSSI Media.

Inmate Rockson Konaga was a very happy man on Tuesday the 13th of December 2016 when he was released from jail on pardon by the Governor General Sir Frank Ofagioro Kabui.

Konaga was remanded in custody on November 1993 and was sentenced to life imprisonment on the 12th of December 1994.

He spent 23 years in jail before being released on Tuesday at the age of about 64.

His release from jail this week did not come easy as one might think because it took him a lot of time and effort to prove to the authorities that he has changed into a better person over the years.

For this reason he has to go through numerous rehabilitation training programs at the Correctional Centres he attended.

These programs helped so much in addressing his violent offending behavior and thus shaped him into a very respectable person today.

On the other hand the hard working rehabilitation team within the Correctional Services Solomon Islands also contributed a lot in the inmate’s transformation process as it continued tirelessly in the facilitation of Vocational Trainings, Life Skill activities and many other pre- released programs that eventually equipped him with knowledge and skills necessary for his reintegration back into the community.

Konaga has also reconciled with the victim’s family where a total of 20 shell money was given to them and that it was done according to custom which was accepted then in full.

He voluntarily surrendered himself back to the Correctional authorities in 2003 after the mass release of prisoners during the height of the ethnic unrest in 2000, thus the Committee strongly noted his obedience and humility to surrender and therefore commended him for his honesty.

He spent three years with his family before returning back to jail when RAMSI restored law and order in the country.

Eventually he has proven himself over the years to be a normal person.

Thus the moments of impatient and frustration eased up when he was given orders to be transferred from Auki Correctional Centre (ACC) to Rove Central Correctional Centre (RCCC) in Honiara on Saturday 10th of December 2016, to complete the formalities for the release that was proposed for Tuesday 13th December 2016.

Konaga did submit a petition for clemency/mercy on the 3rd of May 2016 and was considered and accepted by the Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy during its meeting on the 7th of October, 2016.

Thus based on the Committee’s consideration and acceptance, the Governor General Sir Frank Kabui did granted him a Free Pardon with immediate effect on the 13th of December 2016.

“Now therefore in accordance with the recommendation of the said Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy, and in exercise of the powers conferred upon me by section 45 of the Constitution, I Sir Frank Utu Ofagioro Kabui, Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Cross of the Order of Solomon Islands, Office of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Solomon Islands, hereby grant you a Free Pardon, with immediate effect from the date hereof,” declared Sir Kabui.

Konaga will be missing his jail mates as well as the activities they normally engaged in every Christmas in jail for the last 23 years, but this will soon be over as reuniting with his family this Christmas will be more exciting.

Source: CSSI/Solomon Star