Home Affairs elections $90M for police adds up
…Audit Office probe almost complete
By Gary Eleazar
There appears to be vindication on the part of the Ministry of Home Affairs as it relates to that
entity’s accounting for the $90M allocated to the Guyana Police Force for the November 28, 2011 elections.
According to the budgetary explanation the money was to meet additional expenditure for the General and Regional Elections for feeding rural constables working on Election Day. The money was also to feed the ranks of the Guyana Police Force and to meet expenditures associated “with the intensification of patrols in and around the city.”
The furor had erupted after at least one divisional Commander David Ramnarine complained that he had not received sufficient funds for the ranks under his command. The Home Affairs Ministry later released details of a cheque for $320,000 made to Ramnarine.
This sparked a confrontation with the Guyana Police Force and Ministry of Home Affairs, both of which claimed no wrongdoing.
Auditor General Deodat Sharma has since undertaken an in depth probe of the $90M and while the investigation has not been completed the initial reports point to no wrongdoing.
A source close to the investigation said that so far everything checks out.
The probe consists mainly of a verification exercise and corroborating the paper trails such as receipts and vouchers for expenditures. There is nothing to shout about.”
Apart from maintaining that the report will be submitted soon, the Auditor General has declined any further comments on the matter.
He had told this publication that the findings will determine when the results will be made public.
Sharma explained that depending on what the probe uncovers the report will be made immediately or will just form a part of the annual report which he would normally undertake.
The Auditor General says that he is in possession of the relevant documents and will look into each aspect of the allegations being leveled against the officials.
The major opposition parties, namely Alliance for Change and A Partnership for National Unity, had demanded a probe into the $90M that Government allocated to the police for meals and other expenses for the November 28 elections, but which some Divisional Commanders say never reached them.
Former E and F Division Commander, Assistant Commissioner Ramnarine, had disclosed that he never received any of the money for his ranks’ upkeep. He also said that he was told to solicit monies and other facilities from members of the business community.
Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee subsequently produced a copy of a cheque issued to Ramnarine for $320,000 and drawn from the Police Welfare Fund which many have since questioned.
Sharma says this too (use of the Welfare Fund) will be subjected to the probe which he has launched.
To date, the former Commissioner of Police Henry Greene, who has since retired following a probe into a rape allegation against him, has been silent despite the repeated allegations of impropriety.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has also stated that it never advised the police to seek assistance from the business community to feed ranks during last November’s General and Regional elections.
Divisional Commanders had indicated to this newspaper that they were advised by Commissioner of Police, Henry Greene, to seek the assistance of the public since the Force had not received money from central government.
The Ministry said, “As regards letters issued by Mr. Henry Greene to Commanders to seek the assistance of the public, assuming that this is indeed the case, the Ministry wishes to make it clear that no such instruction originated from Ministry of Home Affairs.”
The Ministry added, “…Those who worked with and for the Guyana Police Force (GPF) over the years and prior to and after 1992 must know about these practices and much more which they themselves condoned and approved during their association with the Guyana Police Force.”
The Ministry is also maintaining that no illegal or criminal act was committed by the payment of part of the $90M allocated for police elections duties into the Police Central Welfare Fund.