SOCU’s mandate is not being delivered, says Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo who also feels that this is the main reason why the unit has a low conviction rate.
Most recently British Financial Investigations Adviser to the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), Dr Sam Sittlington, bemoaned the low rate of convictions for financial crimes as he addressed a training seminar.
The British expert noted that there are a lot of cases getting to court but also failing at that same level. He also noted that files are often times sent back with corrections from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
But Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo says that SOCU’s mandate is not being delivered, especially since it is taking political directives, which undermines its professionalism.
“I don’t think the focus has been ever on preparing good cases and let the evidence lead you to the cases. It started the different way, they got an instruction, the special prosecutors were hired, a hundred million set aside outside of the DPP’s Office, the money was placed in the AG’s budget, Harmon said in Parliament that he is budgeting to top up the SOCU Officers in his ministry so immediately the undermined the chain of command where SOCU is an arm of the Police Force” Jagdeo said.
Jagdeo further argues that is the main reason why the cases are failing.
“So we have a lot, about a billion dollars for the gold board, where did that went? That disappeared. We’ve heard about one PS which we’ve had 18 billion they told us that was stolen or something like that. Where is that case? Where are the cases? Or were these all just headlines?”
The Opposition leader feels that SOCU has come under a lot of political pressure to go after people based on politics.
Jagdeo has long stated that SOCU has now been converted into a Peoples National Congress (PNC) outfit with its main objective being to carry out witch-hunts.
SOCU has already called in Jagdeo, former Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, among other former ministers for questioning into the Pradoville 2 saga.
Only recently another batch of these former ministers were called in for questioning again for the same matter.