‘SOCU has been a disappointment’ – Jagdeo
The Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) on Monday came in for harsh criticisms over its failure to charge several former government officials for “large scale theft of state resources.”
Leading the condemnation was Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo.
“SOCU has just been a disappointment,” he said as he promised stiffer penalties for persons involved in the theft of state assets.
“Had it been the PPP, they (SOCU) would have been running us down,” Jagdeo said during a press conference at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC).
To make his case. Jagdeo pointed to former Finance Minister Winston Jordan who he said had breached financial regulation and his fiduciary responsibility while he held the post from 2015 – 2020.
Jagdeo repeated claims already made publicly by Attorney General Anil Nandlall that Jordan transferred large tracks of land to individuals, many “far below market value” and “without the requisite public procurement process”.
“You can go to jail for that… I don’t see him even charged by now. I want to know what’s going on,” Jagdeo said.
In early October 2021, Nandall had promised to send evidence of these criminal infractions involving Jordan to the police. There has been no update on that since.
Jagdeo claimed that there are other cases of large-scale theft of state assets and he questioned why these cases are not being addressed by SOCU.
SOCU was established in 2013 as a law enforcement agency to investigate, exclusively, allegations and reports relating to money laundering and terrorism.
It was part of Guyana’s international obligations to strengthen its Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing Of Terrorism ( AMLCFT) apparatus.
This unit has no other mandate. It was established as a Unit within the Guyana Police Force and falls under the supervision of the Commissioner of Police. Its officers are members of the Guyana Police Force vested with the requisite powers under the Police Act Chapter 16:01.