— as AG Chamber probes missing diamond
Several former police officers including former Top Cop Floyd Mc Donald have responded to a public notice issued by the Attorney General’s Chambers for them to make urgent contact to give a detailed account on some $54M worth of diamonds that have gone missing.
The diamonds belong to miner Ronald Khan who has since filed a civil suit against the State to recover approximately $54M, the approximate value of the missing diamonds.
Through his attorney Nigel Hughes, Khan has requested the return of the diamonds which he contends were wrongfully detained. The diamonds were reportedly lodged at the E&F Division of the Police Headquarters, Eve Leary, Georgetown.
It has been reported that the diamonds were seized by police from Khan’s mining camp at Ewang Creek sometime in 1994 and lodged initially at the Mahdia Police Station. Khan is also seeing an order directing the Commission of Police to pay him the $54M representing the value of the “uncut diamonds” and has claimed damages in excess of $100,000 for the wrongful detention.
When the matter was heard before Justice Fidela Corbin-Lincoln earlier this month, the State was given until May 22 to find the missing diamonds belonging to Khan. The State through attorney Joan-Ann Edghill-Stuart, said efforts are being made to contact the relevant police officers who ought to have knowledge of the diamonds.
According to a notice published in this newspaper on May 5, 2018, former Police Commissioner Floyd McDonald, who back in 1994 served as crime chief; Harley Davidson, deputy crime chief; Eon Sandy, formerly stationed at the Supreme Court Police Outpost; Alwyn Wilson, stationed at ‘E’ and ‘F’ Division headquarters, Eve Leary; Terrence Semple, last stationed at Mahdia Police Station; Courtney Ramsey, last stationed at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), police Headquarters, Eve Leary; Desmond Leitch, last stationed at CID, Eve Leary; Constable Fraser Reg#10881; and Ex-detective Sergeant Carl Wilson, Reg # 7797 were being asked to make contact with the AG’s Chambers.
On Wednesday, Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, SC told reporters that the majority of those listed in the public notice have made contact with his office.
“They came… only Mr Davidson did not come in. The statements are interesting but I don’t want to comment on that — but as a result of the statements given, everybody should come in,” said the AG.
He said he was informed by Attorney Edghill- Stuart that she was having difficulties contacting witnesses and it was he who suggested that a public notice be issued asking the identified persons to come forward, as is done by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
“In this case, these witnesses are coming to support our case against the plaintiff and they are the persons who the information shows had dealings with the diamonds during that period,” Williams stated.
Guyana Chronicle had reported that then Crime Chief Floyd McDonald who subsequently served as Police Commissioner and Harley Davidson, his deputy at the time were the last to handle to diamonds based on information received from a source.
Both men subsequently denied they had knowledge of the missing diamonds. But Williams told reporters that he was surprised by the response given by McDonald and Davidson.
“I don’t know why Mr McDonald had the impression I had powers to lock up… or that it is something that would be egregious to him. But all we want is for him to come and help us with the evidence so that we could protect the State from having to pay $54M worth of diamonds,” the AG stated.
McDonald, along with a former Deputy Crime Chief Harley Davidson denied handling the diamonds in the said matter. In fact, they have all indicated that at the time the diamonds were discovered missing, they were either no longer serving in the force, or were attached to other departments.
In a statement to the Guyana Chronicle, McDonald said he joined the Guyana Police Force on July 19, 1967 and retired in 2004. “During the period stated I never received, saw, examined, sent to examine any diamonds in relation to Ronald Khan,” he declared in his statement. He also refuted giving instructions or diamonds to Inspector Maison.
“Inspector Maison therefore never returned any diamonds to me. It is my view therefore that the article’s corrosive nature is aimed at my character,” the statement, said while calling on this newspaper to correct “his poisonous article with like coverage”.
Subsequent to his response to the article, McDonald told reporters at his Diamond, East Bank Demerara (EBD) home that from information he has received, the time when the diamonds belonging to Khan went missing, he was no longer in the police force.
“When I checked with the police, it appears as though when the diamonds were allegedly found missing some investigation was launched or investigations; I was out of the force then. The police would have more information on it.”
Khan, who is being represented by the Hughes, Fields and Stoby law firm, had initially started proceedings sometime in 2011 to retrieve his diamonds.
Meanwhile, the former top cop who now serves as chairman of the New Building Society (NBS) said he is concerned that after some 20 years the matter has resurfaced. “I am very concerned, because there is apparently a gap between the [Attorney General] AG’s Chambers and the police.”
“I was not even in the Force when the diamond [sic] was apparently discovered missing. I am just speaking based on my knowledge… it is not a matter I would deal with at CID headquarters; we don’t keep exhibits at CID headquarters,” he explained.
Similarly, “I wasn’t there and I wasn’t involved in any way. I am concerned that a person’s name is placed in the newspaper,” said a soft-spoken McDonald.
Former deputy crime chief at the time, Harley Davidson, told the Guyana Chronicle that he too was not involved in any such matter. “I am not happy at all with what I saw in the papers… I know nothing of the incident. I know absolutely nothing about it,” he stated.