President Granger vows to restore public confidence in SOCU
President David Granger believes it is possible to restore public trust in the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) amidst serious allegations of fraud against the unit that was set up to investigate financial crimes.
“It is an organic part of the Police Force and it is not a free agent, it is not a loose cannon and we will ensure that public confidence in SOCU is restored,” the Head-of-State told reporters during an interview on Wednesday.
“It is going to remain, it is not going to be dismantled, it has work to do,” he said.
According to the Commander-in-Chief, the Police Commissioner along with the Minister of Public Security “presumably will take the necessary action to ensure that the unit continues to enjoy the confidence of the public.”
An audit of the financial records at SOCU was ordered in February by Police Commissioner Leslie James following claims of mismanagement of over $52M collected from the Public Security Ministry for operational costs between 2016-2019.
The investigation reportedly found backdated cheques, lack of receipts for various sums, forgery of signatures, irregular transactions, duplicated invoices and other fraudulent activities.
SOCU is headed by Assistant Commissioner Sydney James.
At a press conference on Friday last, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan suggested that persons will be dismissed or transferred if found culpable. The actions, he said, will be taken by the Commissioner of Police.
On Wednesday, the President said he agrees with Minister Ramjattan.
“I have taken note and I agree with the Minister of Public Security that in the event that there has been any impropriety or misconduct, disciplinary action be taken,” he said.
SOCU was set up under the Guyana Police Force in 2014 along with the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to investigate money laundering and other financial crimes in response to non-parliamentary recommendations from Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF).