Police vehicles auction racket … Home Affairs attempted cover-up – whistleblower
The man who blew the whistle on the massive racket at the police vehicles auction said that it was Office of the President that initiated the investigation into the scheme and not the Ministry of Home Affairs as was reported in the media.
He also claimed that it was the officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs who were dragging their feet on the issue and not the police Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).
The whistleblower came forward to set the record straight after reading a recent report in the press in which the Minister of Home Affairs chastised the police investigators for the way the matter was handled.
The Minister had accused the police OPR of foot dragging on the matter.
He also accused them of leaking the subsequent information to this newspaper for monetary rewards.
But the whistleblower who was a part of the auction said that he decided to speak out on the fraud that was taking place when it became clear that the perpetrators would stop at nothing to carry out their activity.
The businessman told this newspaper that although he had warned those who were carrying on the racket that he would blow their cover, they persisted nevertheless.
He first approached the Ministry of Home Affairs with a view to getting an audience with the Minister himself to highlight the malpractices at the auction.
But instead he was given the “royal runaround” by the Minister’s Secretary.
Frustrated, he sought the intervention of the media, Kaieteur News in particular, to make the issue public.
In April, he had provided this newspaper with documentation that he had compiled about the fraudulent practices by those overseeing the auction and some participants.
However, the information was not immediately made public, since the authenticity of the information was being verified.
In the meantime, the frustrated whistleblower approached the Office of the President with his information and it was there that decisive action was taken.
“The Ministry did not initiate any investigation. Instead Home Affairs tried to cover it up. I went to OP where action was finally taken,” the whistleblower declared.
His claim can be substantiated since, a few weeks after he had contacted this newspaper, police investigators did the same and requested copies of the documented information that it had received from the whistleblower.
In fact, the police had solicited other information that was at this newspaper’s disposal to facilitate their investigation.
“The police are not leaking any information to the Kaieteur News. I was the person who was in contact with the newspaper because I wanted to expose what was taking place. I personally gave Kaieteur News the information before the police investigation started. At least five persons gave statements in the matter,” the whistleblower said.
The uncovered racket centered on the misrepresentation of amounts paid for unserviceable police vehicles, with some of them being sold for far less than the final 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 staff 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.
This newspaper understands that the said officer has been barred from proceeding on Annual Vacation Leave as investigators continue to probe his role in a racket.
News of the racket which appeared as the main headline of last Wednesday’s edition of the Kaieteur News incensed the Minister of Home Affairs who again waled into the police.
“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.