As the probe into the alleged multimillion-dollar fraud at the Guyana Police Force (GPF) continues, the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) has already charged close to a dozen cops, including seven high-ranking officers. While some of them have been released on bail pending trial, the others are yet to appear at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts for the charges to be read to them.
Deputy Police Commander, Superintendent of Police Lorraine Saul; Police Finance Officer, Superintendent of Police Marcelene Washington, and Deputy Assistant Superintendent of Police Frank Jackman-Wilburg have been charged in relation to monies expended for supplying meals to ranks.
The first charge stated that the trio, between November 2, 2020, and December 3, 2020, at the GPF Headquarters, Eve Leary, Georgetown, with intent to defraud, conspired with each other and with other persons, while being officers employed by the GPF, to falsify a feeding account of $2,246,400,00 for meals purportedly provided by the Felix Austin Police College Mess Hall to ranks who performed fixed-point duties at the Mounted Branch between October 16, 2020, and October 31, 2020.
It is further alleged that the trio, on November 2, 2020, and December 3, 2020, at the GPF Headquarters, Eve Leary, Georgetown, with intent to defraud, conspired with each other and other persons, while being officers employed by the GPF, to falsify a feeding account of $1,440,000,00 for meals purportedly provided by the Felix Austin Police College Mess Hall to ranks who performed fixed-point duty at the Mounted Branch between October 16, 2020, and October 31, 2020.
The charges were not read to co-accused who are out of the jurisdiction. These matters will be called again on Thursday before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
Meanwhile, Superintendent Saul along with Assistant Superintendent of Police Kurt Smith were charged with falsifying GPF payment accounts. The first charge stated that between December 18, 2020, and December 28, 2020, at Georgetown, they conspired with each other and other persons, while being officers of the GPF, to falsify a payment of $1,350,000 to show that meals were supplied to ranks of the Riot Unit training during December 1, 2020, and December 15, 2020.
The other charge alleged that between December 18, 2020, and December 28, 2020, at Georgetown, they conspired with each other and other persons, while being officers of the GPF, to falsify a payment account of $465,000 to show that meals were supplied to ranks of the Riot Unit training during December 1, 2020, and December 15, 2020.
Former Deputy Finance Officer Roxanne Griffith-Adams, along with Superintendents Saul and Washington are accused of falsifying GPF accounts. SOCU is alleging that between Monday, November 2, 2020, and Tuesday, November 24, 2020, with intent to defraud, Saul, Washington, and Griffith-Adams conspired with each other and with other persons, while being officers employed by the Guyana Police Force, to falsify a feeding account in the sum of $1,152,000.
In March, retired Assistant Commissioner Kevin Adonis and three junior Police ranks were slapped with a $19 million larceny charge. Apart from Adonis, of Stewartville, West Coast Demerara (WCD), the others charged are Sergeant Jermaine Fraser of 4116 Phase One Westminster, West Bank Demerara (WBD); Sergeant Michael Corbin of First Avenue, La Parfaite Harmonie, West Bank Demerara, and Corporal Rawl Haynes of Hydronie, East Bank Essequibo (EBE).
Particulars of the first charge stated that between March 26, 2019, and March 29, 2019, at Georgetown, Adonis, Fraser, Corbin, and Haynes conspired with each other and with persons unknown, while being public officers employed by GPF, to steal $19,030,767.
It is alleged that Corbin, on March 26, 2019, at the GPF Finance Office, input electronic data, that is to say, a payment voucher entry for $19,030,767, resulting in inauthentic data, with the intent that it be considered or acted upon by the Finance Ministry’s Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) staff as if it were authentic, regardless of whether or not the said data was directly readable or intelligible.
According to the final charge, Haynes, on March 29, 2019, at Georgetown, while being a public officer employed by the Guyana Police Force, stole 19,030,767. On the first charge, the ranks were instructed to post $150,000 bail each. Corbin was released on $100,000 bail on the computer-related fraud charge, while Haynes was granted $50,000 bail on the last charge.
Corbin and Fraser are presently interdicted from duty. They were stationed at the Votes Section of the Police Finance Office. Haynes is stationed at the Tactical Service Unit, while Adonis is a retired Assistant Commissioner and was the Commander for Regional Division Number Seven.
It was reported that in March 2019, while performing duties at the Votes Section of the Police Finance Office, Headquarters, Eve Leary, Corbin and Fraser were responsible for inputting approved information from payment vouchers in the IFMIS, which resulted in the Finance Ministry cutting cheques.
On March 26, 2019, Corbin reused a payment voucher with supporting documents for fuel purchased from GuyOil to input information in the IFMIS. Fraser, on the other hand, approved the said information, resulting in cheque # 07-220086 for $19,030,767 being made payable to the Officer in Charge of Police F Division. The cheque was uplifted from the Finance Ministry and lodged at the Police Finance Office.
Adonis endorsed the said cheque, and Haynes, who was not authorised, and was not the finance representative for Police F Division, encashed the cheque at the Bank of Guyana using Adonis’s national identification card. No record was made of the cheque or to whom the money was disbursed at F Division. An audit was conducted by the Auditor General, who recommended a Police probe.
Last month, Corporal Jenneka Carmichael and Constable Tatayana Smith were charged with intentionally deleting information from the Force’s computers. The information they are accused of deleting is linked to the ongoing fraud probe. Constable Smith, 21, resided at Third Street Alberttown, Georgetown, while 26-year-old Corporal Jenneka Carmichael lives at Onderneeming, West Coast Berbice.
The first charge alleged that between January 28, 2021, and February 4, 2021, at the Guyana Police Force Headquarters, Eve Leary, Georgetown, Carmichael and Smith intentionally, and without lawful excuse or justification, deleted electronic data from the GPF computer that was in the Administrative Office of the Felix Austin Police College Mess. They were each released on $150,000 bail.
Reports are that an investigation was conducted by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), an arm of the GPF after information was received that falsified accounts in regard to feeding were stored on the computer in question. But before SOCU ranks could have accessed the computer, all account files in regard to feeding were deleted. The defendants are said to be the only ranks that operated the computer.
In 2020, Sergeants Fraser and Corbin were charged with a similar offence.
At that time, they were each released on $250,000 bail. The charge against them stated that on April 4, 2019, at Eve Leary, Georgetown, while being a clerk or servant of the GPF, they falsely entered $12,565,000 into the IFMIS without the existence of payment vouchers.
Both of them had pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Late last year, several senior officers were sent on administrative leave as investigators probed the alleged misappropriation of $150 million from the Police Force’s Finance Department. It is unclear at this time what is the status of those investigations.