SOCU’s financial investigator under probe for forgery

Althea Padmore

Police Superintendent Althea Padmore, the financial investigator of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), is being investigated after it was revealed that she might have provided a false certificate purporting that she holds a Master’s Degree with honours in Business Administration.

Based on reports received, the certificate was reportedly signed by the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ashworth College in 2015 even though the CEO passed away in 2012. In addition, the certificate was purportedly signed by the Vice President of the American College, but Dr Leslie Gargiulo left the educational institution back in 2014.

It is believed that the signatures on the certificate are forged. Another revelation is the year on the certificate was incorrectly spelt.

Padmore’s certificate was issued in 2015 and spelt “Twentieth day of June Two Thousand and Fifth-teen”.

Padmore was appointed by SOCU as a financial investigator and received a salary of $468,563.

Her contract with the Government was renewed in May 2020 and will come to an end in October 2022.

Padmore also served as acting Head of the Unit after then Head Sydney James was sent on administrative leave amid allegations of mismanagement of funds at the Unit.

The decision to send him on leave came months after a special audit had unearthed several instances of mismanagement of funds and falsification of documents at the entity. The audit had also found some unaccounted-for expenditure which could not be verified by a paper trail.

Nevertheless, following her appointment as acting Head, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) did not release her credentials and qualifications.

Back in 2019, a British specialist investigator of the Unit had resigned after questions were raised over her qualifications.

She was part of the team investigating multibillion-dollar cases. These included matters involving the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) and the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI).

Sheronie James tendered her resignation after she was questioned about her credentials to give expert testimony. She reportedly did not tender her qualifications to SOCU and the Public Security Ministry when asked to present them.

She tendered her resignation, stating that her qualifications were a matter of national security.