May 25, 2015 News
– new Public Security Minister
The new government will embark on an aggressive pursuit of all white collar crime, says recently sworn-in Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan.
Speaking to Kaieteur News shortly after being sworn-in last Friday, Ramjattan highlighted the fight against white collar suspects as one of the key areas he will focus on while in office.
As an Opposition Member of Parliament, Ramjattan had been vocal about shortcomings to effectively address white collar crime.
“That would be a huge area that I intend to pursue and I intend to pursue all white collar suspects.”
Persons employed, he said, will also be “checking back on the systems in place in which there were deviations and violations.”
According to the Minister, focus will also be given to strengthening the fraud squad. He added that such an endeavor would require “top class qualified people” and further expressed confidence that the endeavor would receive support from the government.
Ramjattan had also criticized the Guyana Police Force for their apparent inability to investigate and prosecute alleged perpetrators of these “intelligent” crimes.
The new Minister also spoke of strengthening the prosecutorial service. Ramjattan is now in control of the security sector and with it, the Guyana Police Force.
White collar crime refers to financially motivated nonviolent crime committed typically by business and government professionals. In countries like the US, forensic accountants, auditors and whistle-blowers identify and report white-collar crimes.
Typical white-collar crimes include fraud, bribery, insider trading, embezzlement, cybercrime, copyright infringement, money laundering, identity theft and forgery.
Last year, reports surfaced that senior ranks of the police force were unaware of the fact that charges could be brought against former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh for the illegal spending of $4.5B. They had requested that Ramjattan, the complainant, prepare an extensive report.
Ramjattan, a practicing Attorney who has been a legal advisor to the Force for several years, had explained to this publication that its ranks have not been trained to deal with high level “white collar” crimes, such as the one he is alleging against Singh.
This led to court action brought by the then Opposition, now Government and a subsequent ruling from the Chief Justice that the money had indeed been spent illegally.
Additionally, the Opposition had last year remained firm in its position not to make way for passage of the Anti Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AMT/CFT) Bill unless it is sure that Guyana is being given the best legislation, capable enough to deal with a range of white collar crimes.
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) Leader, Brigadier David Granger, had long held the position that this Bill “must” address all the inadequacies of the first piece of legislation and not be just another ornament “just to say we have it.”
However, Granger had informed that it is advocating the strengthening of the Government established body, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), which is for requesting, receiving, analyzing and disseminating of suspicious transaction reports and other information relating to money laundering, terrorist financing or the proceeds of crime.
Also, last year Guyana remained at the bottom of the list of English Speaking Caribbean countries its 2013 rating on the Global Corruption Perception Index.
The result of the 2014 Annual Corruption Perception Index (CPI) showed that out of the 175 countries surveyed by the international body, Guyana ranked 124, with a score of 30 .(0 being highly corrupt;100 being very clean.)
The only other countries in the region that ranked below Guyana were Haiti and Venezuela.
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