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By MAIKELI SERU
A mobile phone was confiscated from one of the prisoners who unsuccessfully tried to escape from the Suva Corrections Centre on Sunday.
The revelation came as the inmate who got away – Deshwar Kishor Dutt – was recaptured yesterday at Shirley Park, in Lautoka.
It has now emerged that Dutt was one of four inmates involved in the daring daytime breakout attempt early on Sunday afternoon – the others were recaptured within moments as Dutt fled in a waiting vehicle.
The Fiji Sun understands that about 10 wardens were guarding 362 convicted and remand inmates when the escape happened – a ratio of 36 prisoners to a warden.
Overcrowding and under staffing led to the worst prison riot in Fiji’s history inside the same prison on New Year’s Day in 1980. The Corrections department is currently building a new remand centre at Korovou and recruiting more staff to address current issues.
Dutt was the alleged driver of the van used as the getaway vehicle in the Bank South Pacific Samabula robbery in September.
The Fiji Sun has gathered that the vehicle used to help him flee on Sunday had been parked for some time between the Royal Suva Yacht Club and the prison.
The alarm was raised by a boy, whose father is a corrections officer, when he saw Dutt on top of the prison wall.
Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said the report they received at 2.43pm on Sunday from the Suva Corrections Centre said, “Four remand prisoners namely Deshwar Kishor Dutt, Kunal Edwin Prasad, Vimlesh Dayal and Viliame Vunisiga cut the mesh wire in front of Yaka dorm and escaped.
“Deshwar and Kunal managed to climb the concrete wall and jumped out of the prison complex. Deshwar boarded a waiting private car with a number plate written with pental pen on a cardboard and was driven towards the city while Kunal was recaptured outside the complex.
“Vimlesh and Viliame could not climb the wall and were arrested inside the complex,” she said.
Mobile phones are part of contraband the Fiji Corrections service declared it would confiscate from inmates in the aftermath of the September breakout that led to the ram-raid at the BSP Samabula branch.
With one was caught on Kunal there is also a report of the cutting of mesh wire either using a hacksaw blade or bolt cutter.
Fiji Corrections Service spokesperson Ana Tudrau said Commissioner Corrections Lieutenant-Colonel Ifereimi Vasu will brief media today after returning from Vanuatu.
In another development, Fiji Police Force Chief of Operations, Assistant Commissioner of Police Rusiate Tudravu said they had set strategies for quick response in case of future escapes.
His reponse comes as questions remained unanswered on reasons behind the recent spate of breakouts from corrections centres and police custodies
“We have learned a lot from the escapes. We are stepping up operations so that they can be recaptured at the shortest possible time,” ACP Tudravu said.
“My advice to prisoners is please don’t test the system. We are also working with the Fiji Corrections Service to determine the cause of escapes. We are also bracing for worst case scenarios in relation to the prison breaks.”