Councilman wants to audit HPD and prosecutor’s office in light of Kealohas’ conviction

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A city councilman wants to audit HPD and the prosecutor’s office. Ron Menor says we need to find out how the corruption involving the Kealohas can be prevented in the future.

Menor says he’s confident the full council will support the measure. But some say the audit won’t work.

With the retired police chief and his wife, a former deputy prosecutor, now awaiting sentencing for conspiracy and obstruction, Councilman Ron Menor has introduced a resolution for a city auditor to look into procedures at HPD and the prosecutor’s office. He says he wants to know if there was a breakdown and what can be done to prevent it from happening again.

“I also think that an audit would help to reaffirm public confidence and trust in our law enforcement agencies,” he said.

Megan Kau, who is running for Honolulu prosecutor, is skeptical. She says a city auditor does not know enough about the office to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it.

“The city auditor is not a lawyer, to my understanding, and if he or she is a lawyer, they’re definitely not a criminal lawyer who’s practiced in the prosecuting attorney’s office,” said Kau.

She adds that the city council does not have jurisdiction over the prosecutor’s office so the resolution can’t be enforced. But Menor says the council is in charge of the budget and has that power over the prosecutor’s office.

“We all represent the taxpayers and constituents in city government and I think they want answers as to how corrupt activities and abuses of power could have occurred,” said Menor.

He adds that city auditors can also consult with experts with knowledge on procedures both at the prosecutor’s office and HPD.

Kau says the only way to fix the problems at the prosecutor’s office is to elect a new leader. Or change the law and have the mayor appoint the prosecutor.

“If the mayor appoints the prosecutor and the prosecutor does something wrong, the mayor can immediately remove the prosecutor from his or her position,” said Kau.

The prosecutor’s office says it welcomes the audit. HPD says it’s still reviewing the proposal. If the council approves it, the audit could take six to eight months.

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