Money laundering, asset recovery cases being held up by half-done files – British expert

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Incomplete case files are contributing to slothful prosecutions of white-collar crimes, according to British adviser to the Guyana Police Force’s Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), Dr. Sam Sittlington.

Speaking at the opening of a training session for investigators of various government agencies, Dr. Sittlington noted that too much time is wasted.

“We see a lot of cases that are getting to court and failing and we see failings within the files that go to the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) and we don’t want files to come back to us for amendments or corrections.

“We want one file, one time, going to the DPP or the police legal adviser and that file then being referred for charges and direct to court.

“There’s a lot of time wasted and don’t need that,” he told the investigators.

The training for personnel from the DPP, the Guyana Revenue Authority, the Financial Intelligence Unit of the State Asset Recovery Agency (SARA) and the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), opened at the Guyana Police Force’s training centre, Camp road, Georgetown.

British High Commissioner to Guyana Greg Quinn pointed out that the training is being run by experts from the Asset Recovery Unit linked to the Regional Security System based in Barbados, namely Dominic Barry, Andy Tennant and Giovanni James.

“The course…is focused on asset recovery.

“It will look in detail at the issue of money laundering, how to gather evidence in such cases, how to seek successful prosecutions on the options for confiscating assets and cash seizure.

“It will look at case studies and scenarios to allow those who are involved to see how money laundering cases are pursued and prosecuted in the real world,” Quinn explained.

He added that “the fundamental goal is to improve prosecutorial quality, thereby enhancing the quality of prosecutions pursued by the relevant authorities here in Guyana.”

He alluded to crimes such as drug running, extortion, corruption and terrorism which are supported by money laundering and need to be tackled early.

The Diplomat noted that while some cases may not lead to jail time, it will lead to the seizure of assets which will hurt some criminals even more.

The High Commissioner says the United Kingdom remains committed to supporting Guyana in its Security Sector Reform process.

The British Government has been assisting Guyana with the Security Sector Reform Project (SSRP). A report of what needs to be done was compiled by British security expert, Lt. Col (Ret’d) Russell Combe and handed over to the Government for further action.

Appointing the new Police commissioner, Leslie James, President David Granger charged him to push the reform project to improve the security force.

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