A Government Minister has expressed an interest in having embattled former Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) adviser, Sam Sittlington return but according to the British High Commissioner to Guyana, Gregory Quinn, the David Granger-led Administration is on its own when it comes to such a move.
Sittlington was previously fired by the British Government after it emerged that he had business interests that could pose a conflict of interest. Quinn ruled out his Government having any role to play in bringing back Sittlington.
“If that happened, that would be an arrangement that comes from the Ministry of Public Security. It wouldn’t be one that we would be involved in, in terms of funding for example,” Quinn told this publication when asked on the sidelines of an event at his official residence.
When it comes to finding a replacement for Sittlington, Quinn noted that the UK is presently reviewing what went wrong in the first place in order to guide its future assistance to SOCU.
“We’re at that period of time where we’re looking at what happens next. What happened, happened. And we’re doing a bit of review internally to see what happens next. But that hasn’t been completed yet, so it’s too early to say what we’ll be doing going forward.”
Sittlington, an Irish consultant and fraud expert, was fired last month after it was discovered that he had established a local company. The move was considered a conflict of interest since the firm, dubbed the Fraud Company Limited, deals with much the same areas as SOCU.
The fraud expert has since contended that he was wrongfully fired and has expressed intentions of suing the British Government. Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan was quoted in sections of the media expressing an interest in Government rehiring the expert.
Questions were also raised about the integrity of the cases being investigated by SOCU following this and other developments – including the resignation of the Deputy, Sheronie James. Reports are that she resigned after a local magistrate disqualified her as an expert witness based on her lack of qualifications.
SOCU Head Sydney James had noted that he will have to seek legal advice on the matter. “It might affect ongoing cases and I’ll have to get legal advice on that because as you know, if she was giving evidence or had done an investigation and it is before the courts that might be a challenge. But I think the legal people will give us advice,” he stated.
The embattled unit is currently being audited after it was alleged that senior officials at the entity were improperly spending funds allocated to the agency.