Head of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) Sydney James was subjected to questioning over allegations of improper spending at the white-collar crime fighting institution. This is in light of the ongoing investigation and audit at the organization.
Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan confirmed that an investigation is ongoing into the matter; however, he declined to reveal more information.
“There are some allegations being made that monies were not spent properly…and of course, you listen to what the auditors of the police force has to say on that score and proceed a pace with that. The investigators have asked a number of questions of Mr Sydney James and they’re in the process of understanding better, the system that is in place in relation to spending,” he said.
The Minister said he is pleased with the Guyana Police Force’s Audit Department conducting the investigation, even though SOCU falls under the authority of the Force.
Concerns were raised that this is a conflict of interest, since it is basically the police investigating itself. But the Minister said the Auditor General can be called in if the need arises.
“I’m very comfortable. That’s what normally happens in the various departments of there are information about certain untoward developments, you general put the policeman first. Of course, then the auditor general can come in and he can come in at any time,” Ramjattan added.
British advisor to the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), Sam Sittlington, was fired earlier this year after it was revealed that he had set up a private fraud company in Guyana, which is a conflict of interest with his role as consultant.
Sittlington however, has since revealed that SOCU has not been operating in a manner in which it should, and that there are instances of improper spending.
The parliamentary opposition has maintained that SOCU, which was set up to fight money laundering and other white-collar crimes, has become a political unit under the APNU/AFC regime.