Top Cop promises a ‘new SOCU’

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Amidst concerns that the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) has failed to get successful prosecutions in multi-million-dollar high-profile fraud cases against former Government officials, Commissioner of Police Leslie James said the agency will soon be revamped.

“Very soon you’ll see a new SOCU, personnel, etc,” he told the media at the sidelines of an event at the Tactical Services Unit (TSU), Eve Leary Georgetown on Friday.

According to the Police Commissioner, “the operations of SOCU is under scrutiny at the moment and actions are being taken as we speak.”

Several investigations were completed by SOCU but there were no successful prosecutions.

One such case involves six former officials from the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) who were dragged before the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court for $300M in alleged fraud.

It was alleged that in 2011, 2014 and 2015, they omitted to enter sums of $77.3M, $130M, $9.7M and $145M from a company ledger.

The case was this year dismissed as the SOCU Prosecutor failed to show up in court consecutive times.

The Police Commissioner said he has engaged the Prosecutors and all other members of SOCU to address issues at the entity.

“I can tell you that as latest as [Thursday] I met with some of the Prosecutors and that matter, I am currently addressing,” he said.

However, the Commissioner was quick to point out that many of the Prosecutors were not hired by the Guyana Police Force.

“Notwithstanding the fact that SOCU does in fact come under the aegis of the Commissioner of Police and by extension the Guyana Police Force, the Prosecutors of SOCU –that is what I have inherited –they were not necessarily recruited by the Guyana Police Force,” he said.

SOCU itself is under investigation for fraud but President David Granger in May this year vowed to restore public confidence in the unit.

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