… banking sector registered serious concerns, SOCU denies leaking info
The Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) of the Guyana Police Force has denied that it was responsible for the leakage of confidential information to sections of the local media, even as more banking institutions have come forward to express their concerns over the developments.
SOCU head, Dr Clive Thomas
Bank of Guyana Governor, Dr Gobin Ganga
Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan – under whose purview SOCU falls – in an invited comment on Wednesday, said that since the revelation that private banking information had been made public, he has been in contact with the officials of the department (SOCU) and they have denied culpability.
Nonetheless, Ramjattan said an investigation will have to be launched since that information could very well have been leaked from sources other than SOCU.
Over the weekend, sections of the media had published the bank account numbers of embattled Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of the Presidency, Omar Shariff.
Included in that publication of Shariff’s banking information, are the bank account numbers for 14 accounts, along with a summary of its balances and withdrawals. The published information also pointed to several asset holdings for Shariff, including shares in a number of local organisations, including shares owned in two local banks and Banks DIH Limited.
MORE BANKING CONCERNS
According to Ramjattan, some bankers have gotten in touch with him to express their concern over the revelations this past weekend.
According to a report in today’s Guyana Times, he said banking sector will have to understand that notwithstanding the “derailment” with the leakage of confidential information, they are still obligated under the laws of Guyana to turn over requested information.
The Public Security Minister did lament the situation, pointing to the fact that tarnishing or denigrating of SOCU can only in the long-run serve to undermine its investigations.
The Public Security Minister is adamant that those in the employ of SOCU are senior ranks that understand the consequences of the leakage of confidential information.
He said, those in the employ of SOCU are quite aware that the divulgence of confidential information is in fact a violation of its protocols.
Speaking directly to those in the banking sector that have publicly or privately expressed their concerns over the leaked information, Ramjattan said, “We will have to address this.”
He was quick to urge restraint on the part of those throwing accusations, reminding them that the denigration of SOCU cannot in anyway serve to assist in the fight against corruption and the types of crimes that the outfit has been mandated to address.
The Bank of Guyana (BoG) Governor on Tuesday said the entity is extremely concerned over revelations this past weekend that confidential banking information had been leaked to the press and was widely published.
Dr Ganga said as Central Bank Governor, he is “very worried” since the divulged information can only serve to bring the entire banking sector into disrepute.
He was at the time reiterating earlier concerns articulated by sections of the banking community with respect to the sharing of its information with State agencies, such as SOCU.
This past week, Shariff, in breaking his silence in relation to the allegations that he had somehow laundered, embezzled or stole public monies for personal gain, accused SOCU of leaking confidential information to the media.
He lamented that the information which had been passed on to SOCU was obtained through a judicial warrant and had since made its way into the public domain.
According to the Central Bank Governor, when it is that sensitive, banking information, which is supposed to be kept confidential, leaked into the public domain and more so, published in widely circulated news outlets, can only serve to hurt the integrity of the local system.
The matter of leaked confidential information has generated heated public debate in the past and again came to the fore with the publication of the scores of accounts owned by Shariff.