Mar 04, 2016 News
It appears that the top officials are not giving much credence to allegations of self-confessed drug dealer
Yesterday, Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, said he does not believe what Dataram is claiming. Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud also stood by the destruction of seized drugs, saying that procedures used are tough to beat.
In recent days, Dataram, who is no stranger to the law, has gone public accusing the Customs Anti Narcotics Unit (CANU) of being corrupt, with seized drugs being returned to the streets.
Dataram had been fighting extradition to the United States and is currently facing the courts on charges relating to a major drug bust at a home in Diamond.
Yesterday, during an event at Eve Leary, Commissioner Persaud, when questioned, noted that Dataram is currently before the courts on a 100-plus kilos of cocaine bust. There may be other matters as well.
With regards to seized drugs being brought back on streets, the police chief said that allegations are not anything new.
Persaud said he was cognizant of the fact that Government has taken a position to have a Board of Inquiry commissioned to look into the matter. He is awaiting anxiously the developments of that.
The official insisted that seized drugs are destroyed in the presence of media and several government officials, and just before it is dumped, it is field tested and weighed in the presence of cameras – in other words it is known what is being destroyed.
The Commissioner also said that Dataram has been a person of interest for a long time and had the right
to speak, a “God-given power”.
Minister Ramjattan also made it clear where he stood on Dataram – he does not believe him.
The allegations of Dataram, he said (like slain Columbian drug kingpin, Pablo Escobar saying the US Drug Enforcement Agency), are not good – because, of course, he has his interest.
But, Ramjattan said, despite Dataram being a self-confessed drug dealer, Government still has to pay attention and the Board of Inquiry as announced on Wednesday by President David Granger, may be the best way to deal with it.
Ramjattan said that allegations may not be totally unexpected as Dataram is facing drug charges.
The tarnishing of CANU and its staffers will have impact on the morale of the law enforcement agencies as it breaks the foundation and frustrates the officers, especially coming from a “self-confessed” drug dealer, said the Minister.
“But we are going to have an inquiry. I don’t believe it honestly.”
Ramjattan believed that CANU will be exonerated, because there is a presumption of innocence there.
Recently, Dataram during an interview on a local television station, confessed to “doing drugs”. However, he boasted of never having been convicted on a criminal charge.
Dataram accused CANU of being the “most corrupted, rogue security force in Guyana”.
The businessman went on to accuse a high ranking CANU official of being involved in the drug trade, adding
that the individual would take millions of dollars to turn a blind eye.
Dataram also alleged that the majority of the drugs seized by the unit would return to the streets. How he knew about this, he said, was due to his direct and indirect involvement in the trade.
“I know what is going on in the streets… I know what is going on in CANU. Dem is the enemies, and they have to know that just like how they got things on me I got things on dem,” he said.
Dataram said he decided to go public, according to reports, after CANU officers conducted a raid on his nephew’s house on West Demerara and allegedly removed $13M, of which only $10M was accounted for.
The President told reporters Wednesday that the matter came up the previous day during the meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) where it was decided that a Board of Inquiry will be convened. The name of the Head of the Inquiry will be announced shortly, he said.
The President continued, “That inquiry will determine the veracity of information which was published in the newspaper. The person will be given Terms of Reference to investigate the allegations which are being reported in the press, concerning the alleged improper behaviour of officers of the State.”
When questioned what would happen if anyone is found culpable, the President answered, “We will deal with the culpable in a way that we always deal with the culpable.
“We expect due process. We will ensure that the person, after proper investigation, is put before the court, but we don’t interfere in the judicial process.
“Once we feel there is a case to answer we will refer the case to the authorities and the law will take its course. We are not persecuting anybody but we just want to know the facts.”
In recent reports, the Head of the Unit, James Singh, refuted the allegations. He asked that Dataram make a formal statement at CANU, while urging citizens to come forward and speak out so that the unit can carry out its duty in ensuring that Guyana is drug-free.
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