Police vehicles auction racket … Fingered Ministry official barred from proceeding on leave
- Rohee again accuses investigators of leaking info to Kaieteur News
The Ministry of Home Affairs has barred one of its officers from proceeding on annual vacation leave as investigators continue to probe his role in a racket that involves the auction of unserviceable police vehicles.
The official is believed to be one of the main players in the scheme, which has cost the government millions of dollars in revenue.
Apart from the Ministry official, the probe is also looking into the involvement, the auctioneer, a Police staffer and an Auditor from the Audit Office.
It is believed that the racket, which involves the misrepresentation of amounts paid for the vehicles, with some of them being sold for far less than the minimum bidding price, has been going on for a long time.
There are reports that the Ministry of Home Affairs official who is fingered in the racket has four cars which were allegedly bought from the proceeds of the shady sales practices.
Two days ago, this newspaper reported on the massive racket, for which an investigation was ordered by the Home Affairs Minister.
However, in a statement yesterday, the Ministry of Home Affairs said that it “views with deep concern the story published in the Kaieteur News on July 11, 2012 headlined: ‘Massive racket uncovered at Police Vehicles Auction’.”
The main concern is the belief on the part of the ministry, that the information about the racket and subsequent investigation was leaked to the newspaper by persons involved in the probe.
“The Ministry said that it is appalled at the extent to which some ranks within the Guyana Police Force would go to sell information about the Force in exchange for money or to sell information about the said Organization as a way of grinding an axe with their colleagues within the Force. By divulging this matter to the Kaieteur News only, those disloyal ranks within the Force make it appear as if the Kaieteur News is an anti-corruption tribune and a paragon of virtue in Guyana,” the Ministry said.
Two months ago this newspaper had received word on the racket from a source outside of the official investigation, but delayed the publication until it was in possession of information that substantiated the earlier reports received.
According to the Ministry, since April 2012, the Minister of Home Affairs had instructed the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry to initiate an investigation into the matter, based on reliable information which had come to the attention of the Minister’s Secretariat.
The Ministry said that since the instruction was issued, the Minister has, from time to time, requested to be updated on the status of the investigation. “Regrettably, nothing has been forthcoming.”
In the meantime, the Minister had warned those persons who were carrying out the investigation that there appeared to be foot-dragging on the issue which implicitly reeked of an attempt at a cover-up and to protect the Police ranks involved, as well as a staff member at the Ministry who was identified as being involved in the matter.
“As was predicted, the results of the investigation never reached the Minister’s desk but instead reached the desk of the Editor of the Kaieteur News without any reference whatsoever to the investigation launched by the Ministry.”
For the record, this newspaper had referred to the Minister ordering an investigation into the matter.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs expresses its deep disappointment with the manner in which this investigation was dealt with by the Office for Professional Responsibility (OPR) at the Guyana Police Force. The Ministry is disgusted with those within the Force who have no respect for their uniform, and prefer to exchange it for a second pay packet from the Kaieteur News.”