…as gov’t orders full probe into corruption claims
CRIME Chief Lyndon Alves has been suspended to facilitate a full investigation into allegations of corruption levelled against him, well-placed sources have told the Guyana Chronicle.
Top sources confirmed that Alves received the suspension letter on Monday. Last week, the Guyana Police Force broke its silence on the corruption allegations which were raised in the press and on several social media platforms.
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On Friday, a direct question was posed to the police by a member of the press on its apparent silence on the issues raised by a number of whistleblowers within the Force. The Force, just after 20:00hrs on Friday, then issued a statement saying that the matters are under investigation by the Police Office of Professional Responsibility.
However, the whistleblowers, according to previous media reports, have stated that they were more comfortable with a probe into the allegations being done by external sources as against agents of the Force, for fear that the investigation would be compromised.
Over the last few weeks, police ranks have been engaging media operatives, whereby they have been detailing alleged corrupt practices by their colleagues who have been allegedly receiving protection from very senior police officers within the Guyana Police Force.
The matters range from the re-issuing of a weapon to a policeman who was reprimanded and removed from front-line duty after he had an ongoing matter involving a firearm, but managed to be sent back to front-line duties and re-issued a weapon despite his ongoing investigation.
There was also the claim that numbers for several police officers were found in the mobile phones of three bandits who were killed by the police during a shootout, and where a number of mobile phones, cash, police gear and other items were recovered. The police have denied that the telephone numbers of serving members were found in those phones.
Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, had also called for the claims to be investigated thoroughly.
On Monday, the Opposition People’s Progressive Party said that the reports by whistleblowers, published by the local media corps, provide enough justification for a wider probe to be ordered, particularly since what is at stake is public confidence in the leadership of the Force and a test of the commitment to address the issue of corruption. The latest report, published by Stabroek News on June 24, 2019 – headlined ‘Cops linked to Berbice corruption racket said to be involved in alleged plot to kill fellow officer’ – make clear the gravity of the issue at hand, the PPP said.
In his 2018 address at the Police Officers’ Conference, President David Granger was emphatic that “lawless policemen have no place in a lawful force.”
He said then that a force which is contaminated by corruption cannot safeguard the security of citizens. “Service in the Force must be based on the values of commitment, competence and incorruptibility,” the President, a former army commander, had explained. The Police Force has been dogged by corruption over the years, fingered in extra-judicial killings and some of its ranks accused of aiding convicted drug lord, Shaheed Roger Khan, during his escapades here under the PPP government.
President Granger had said that the surge in corruption of the security forces, criminal violence, execution killings and the failure to eradicate narco-trafficking are interrelated and during the Jagdeo-era killings or “Troubles” (2002-2009), instead of trying to cure the causes, the then government was more concerned with concealing the symptoms of crime.
Government has since signalled its intention to investigate that period of bloodshed.