Massive racket uncovered at police vehicles auction
- Purchasers pay $$M less than actual bidding prices
The Guyana Police Force has completed an investigation into alleged corrupt practices in relation to the auction sale of unserviceable police vehicles.
The alleged corruption could cost the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) millions of dollars in unpaid taxes.
The investigation centred on the misrepresentation of amounts paid for the vehicles, with some of them being sold for far less than the minimum bidding price.
Officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs, who are the facilitators of the auction, are being fingered in the alleged scam.
Kaieteur News understands that the scam involves the Ministry of Home Affairs staff, the auctioneer, a Police staffer and an Auditor from the Audit office. It is believed that the racket has been going on for a long time.
There are reports that one official who is fingered in the racket has four cars which were allegedly bought from the proceeds of the shady sales practices.
Investigators have unearthed at least two glaring cases from the last auction sale of police vehicles which occurred on March 23rd last.
Kaieteur News understands that Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee had ordered the investigation after apparent attempts at a cover-up.
This was after a participant in the auction had blown the whistle on the alleged malpractices.
This newspaper came into possession of a document which listed the final bidding prices of a number of vehicles sold at the auction and the actual prices paid for some of them.
The document showed massive disparities between the final bidding price and the actual price paid.
According to a source close to the investigations, prospective purchasers would out-bid other competitors and then strike a behind-the-scene deal with the auctioneer to pay a sum far less than the highest bidding price.
In one case, a Mitsubishi Canter which carried a highest bidding price of $1.5M, was actually sold for $150,000, while a Toyota Mark II, which earned a highest bidding price of $1.76M was sold for $400,000.
In a similar case, the highest bid for another Toyota Mark II was $1.2M, but the actual price paid for the vehicle was $300,000.
Investigators have been able to establish that the difference is being pocketed by corrupt officials integrally involved in the auction.
They have also established that one official sells and promises vehicles to certain members of the public before the day of the sales.
According to the source, in these transactions, the auctioneer collects large sums of money for these vehicles in advance.
Sometimes he would have these vehicles towed away for safe-keeping and they are never seen on the day of the auction.
Investigators have been able to trace the purchase receipts and will be using them as evidence to support possible charges.
According to the source, these cases could be just the tip of the iceberg, since a total of 46 vehicles were sold at the last auction in March this year.
The vehicles auctioned include pick-ups, canter trucks, car, motorcycles, minibuses and all-terrain vehicles.
Investigators have been unable to trace several of the vehicles, since in most cases the purchasers did provide their names and addresses, as was required under the terms of sale.
“When you buy these vehicles, you have to give our name and address. But most of these vehicles cannot be traced. The whole thing is a big hocus-pocus,” the source said.
This newspaper understands that investigators have submitted a report to the head of the police’s Office for Professional Responsibility, who is expected to report the findings to the Minister of Home Affairs.