SOCU file still with Police Legal Advisor

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Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan says the file relating to the investigation into the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) is still with the Police Legal Advisor, retired Justice Claudette Singh.

The file has been with the Legal Advisor since May while the former head of SOCU, Assistant Commissioner Sydney James, was sent on administrative leave in early July.

An audit of SOCU– the body set up to investigate financial crimes -found backdated cheques, lack of receipts for various sums, forgery of signatures, irregular transactions, duplicated invoices and other fraudulent activities between 2016-2019.

The audit was ordered by Police Commissioner Leslie James following claims of mismanagement of over $52M collected from the Public Security Ministry for operational costs.

Speaking with reporters at the sidelines of an event Wednesday morning, the Public Security Minister said that allegation such as these discredits “the system.”

“It is a serious thing when you have maladministration and probably worse than what is happening in certain intuitions of law enforcement.

“You do discredit the system but the good thing about it is that we are investigating even the very high ups and that is important, that is a big shift,” the Security Minister said.

He added that his Ministry will investigate anyone who is found to be rogue.

“So the rogue element is not just the Lance Corporal or the Corporal but if there are people right up in the big high places we are going to get them.

“People must never ever feel they can act with impunity.”

On July 19, the Guyana Police Force announced the appointment of Ms. Althea Padmore as the acting Head of SOCU.

The UK Government is awaiting the outcome of the investigation before it determines the way forward.

The UK Government is assisting SOCU to build its capacity under the Security Sector Reform (SSR) Project –lending assistance in the form of an Advisor, Dr. Sam Sittlington but he was fired in January after he opened his private business in Guyana.

This program is set to conclude in 2020 but the work has not been completed.

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