‘Failed’ SOCU under Scrutiny, missing files, lack of prosecution a concern

Former Head of SOCU and Chief Investigator Assistant Commissioner Sydney James and Sam Sittlington 

The Special Organised Crime Unit which has failed to muster a single successful prosecution in all its years of existence is now under scrutiny.

On Friday President David Granger during an interview on Kaieteur Radio with Kaieteur’s Assistant Editor and Senior Journalist Leonard Gildarie was asked about his government’s investigation of corruption even as the show’s host made reference to the inability of SOCU to register a single successful prosecution.

President Granger and Journalist Leonard Giladrie

“You cannot investigate crimes and allegations if there are elements within the law enforcement forces themselves which have been collaborating with the very criminals, if files are disappearing and if because of other forms of bias and don’t forget, the SOCU is a branch of the Police Force” President David Granger told noted.

Commissioner of Police Leslie James directly to whom SOCU reports, was asked to comment on the issue of the lack of successful prosecution especially given the comments by the president earlier in the day. The commissioner of police made the following comment.

“Let me make it very clear, notwithstanding the fact that SOCU does comes under the Commissioner of Police and by extension the Guyana Police Force, SOCU, the prosecutors of SOCU that is what I have inherited” Leslie James told the media.

Top Cop Leslie James

James has been Commissioner of Police for more than a year now and despite the allegations of corruption within SOCU and its former head being removed from his post, the force administration is yet inform the public what actions were taken following the investigations and findings stemming from a probe into alleged mismanagement of financial and other resources at SOCU.

President David Granger has noted that what is importantly needed in the Guyana Police Force is Police Reform, something which is now ongoing and which he believes is necessary to address the issues of corruption even within the organisation.

He further stressed as it relates to SOCU, that unit is not independent but rather a branch of the Guyana Police Force and falls directly under the Commissioner of Police and the Ministry of Public Security.

Commissioner Leslie James however indicated that since he assumed the role of Commissioner of Police he has met with everyone over at SOCU and it was only on Thursday that he met with some of the prosecutors of the Unit.

“They were not necessarily recruited by the Guyana Police Force however I can tell you that as late as yesterday, I met with a few of the prosecutors and that matter I am currently addressing and I can publicly say that since my accession as Commissioner, I have met with all members of SOCU and the operations of SOCU is under scrutiny at the moment and actions are being taken as we speak”  He said that very soon the unit will see new personnel among other things.

Granger on the radio program said that he regrets that attempts were made to bring people to justice but the evidence has not been sufficient to have convictions, he said this is not only related to matters being handled by SOCU but also murders and other offences.