TWO police officers were on Monday charged with fraud by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) of the Guyana Police Force for falsifying payments for meals supplied to ranks of the Guyana Police Force.
The officers are woman Superintendent of Police Loraine Saul, the former officer in charge of the Brickdam Police Station Other Ranks Mess and Assistant Superintendent of Police Kurt Smith, who was the officer-in-charge of the Police Finance Department of the Guyana Police Force.
The Brickdam Police Station Other Ranks Mess provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner for ranks stationed at various stations and locations within Regional Division 4 ‘A.’
It was alleged that Saul falsified and inflated accounts for meals provided by the Brickdam Police Station Other Ranks Mess, for reimbursement at the Police Finance Department.
The matter was reported to SOCU, which subsequently investigated and found that Saul prepared an account and petty contract dated December 18, 2020 for meals purportedly supplied to ranks who performed duties at ‘A’ Division Riot Unit Training between December 1 to 15, 2020 to the amount of $1,350,000, when in fact no such training was done for this period.
Further, it was found that Saul also prepared another account and petty contract dated the same dates for meals purportedly supplied to ranks who performed fixed- point duties at the Georgetown Prison between December 1 to 15, 2020 to the amount of $ 648,000; however, she inflated the number of ranks and amount of meals on this account in the sum of $ 465,000.
The investigation also revealed that Smith colluded with Saul to defraud and authorise the payments when in fact no such training nor the amount of feeding took place, and as Finance Officer (ag) knowingly authorised the payments from the government’s funds.
The duo was jointly charged with two counts of Conspiracy to Commit a Felony, contrary to Section 34 of the Criminal Law Offences Act. Saul was also charged separately with two counts of Falsification of Accounts, contrary to Section 208 (b) of the Criminal Law Offences Act.
Smith appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates Court, where he was not required to plead to the charges as they were indictable, while the court was informed that Saul is currently not in the country.
Smith was represented by attorney-at-law Mark Waldron, who claimed that his client was not aware of the document he was signing, as another rank had taken it to him (Smith) to be signed. He was placed on $100,000 bail on each charge and the matter was adjourned to May 14, 2021.
Recently, Assistant Commissioner of Police Kevin Adonis, along with three other ranks of the Guyana Police Force, was charged with conspiring to steal over $19 million from the force.