The Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) was formed to fight organized crime. It was established to fight terrorism, drug trafficking and criminal cartel, not to investigate malfeasance in public office.
It is a distortion of the functions of SOCU to have been asked to investigate the operation of NICIL. This is a task better suited to a financial fraud unit.
It is not clear whether the Guyana Police Force has such a unit. But when the government sent the so- called forensic audit report of NICIL to the police to undertake investigations, the police did say that they have the capability to investigate financial crimes.
The Criminal Investigative Department had under the PPP administration investigated major financial crimes such as the pension fraud at the Treasury. Those investigations led to successful prosecution.
The Guyana Police Force had the capability to investigate financial crimes. It is difficult to contemplate then having lost that capability seven months into the rule of APNU+AFC.
This throws into focus the role of SOCU and just why at this stage it is being saddled with the responsibility of investigating the actions of NICIL. This will only lend credence to the PPP’s claim that agencies of the State are being manipulated to pursue political agendas.
It is for SOCU to explain why it is undertaking this investigation which is clearly not consistent with the public’s perception of the type of crimes that SOCU should be investigating and dealing with.
There are a number of pitfalls involved here. When an organization begins to undertake work that is not seen as part of its normal mandate, this detracts from its core function which is to break the backs of organized crime.
Guyana was once described as a narco-state. It was even said at one time that the economy was running on the proceeds of the narcotics trade.
Why then would SOCU be wasting valuable time and resources and attracting unwarranted attention to itself by undertaking investigations that really have nothing to do with drug- trafficking or terrorism.
At one time the complaint was that no single prosecution of any drug lord has occurred in Guyana. So how come instead of pouring all of its resources into dismantling the nacro-gangs of Guyana, SOCU is tying itself down with what will be an interminable investigation into the operations of NICIL.
By the time SOCU is ready to concentrate its full energies into fighting drug gangs, it may find that not only would they have lost considerable time, and would the sort of international support for its work which it would have enjoyed in these the early days of a new government.
SOCU is on a wild goose chase. The PPP calls it a fishing expedition. There is no bait. SOCU is being given a basket to fetch water. It is being asked to follow up after months- long forensic audit during which time none of the senior officials of NICIL was asked to proceed on leave.
Just what is SOCU investigating? What breaches of the laws was unearthed by the forensic audit. Where is the evidence? If it is there why does SOCU have to dig it up?
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