Aug 01, 2017 News
Commissioner of Police, Seelall Persaud, has categorically denied that he instructed ranks to release the man accused of plotting to kill President David Granger.
Persaud was called to testify before the Commission of Inquiry, (COI) established to investigate the plot to kill Granger, yesterday.
The plot had detailed a bounty of $7M for someone to kill President Granger some time in 2015. Andriff Gillard, who filed the report, had claimed that he went to borrow $6M from a businessman, said to be gold miner. Instead, the businessman offered $7M for the assassination.
Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Paul Slowe, is heading the inquiry to investigate and review the full range of the actions and responses by the Guyana Police Force to the report of the assassination plot.
On Friday, Acting Commissioner of Police David Ramnarine, told the Commission that he believed that investigations were not properly done.
Ramnarine had told Commissioner Slowe, that the only time he was updated on the status of the investigation into the matter was when he spoke with Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum during a cell phone conversation they had on March 30.
Ramnarine said the Crime Chief informed him that he instructed that Nizam Khan, who allegedly attempted to recruit someone to kill the President, be released on bail during the probe which featured ranks from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters and the Special Branch Unit.
According to Ramnarine, he was not consulted about releasing Khan on bail but if he had, he would have objected.
The COI heard that Commissioner of Police Seelall Persaud, who was on leave at the time, ordered through the Crime Chief the release of Nizam Khan, the accused plotter; his brother Imran Khan and the accuser Andriff Gillard.
“We incarcerate persons for 72 hours for far, far less serious offences or allegations,” he told the COI.
Yesterday, Police Commissioner Persaud however said that he did not order the release of the businessman allegedly involved in the plot. He said that he only offered his opinion based on the investigation at that stage.
“I read in the press that he (Ramnarine ) said that persons for lesser offences are placed in custody for 72 hours. That is a huge lack of conceptual skills. The issue of bail is not premised only on the gravity of offence. There are a number of other issues.
“The very principle that addresses bail in the standing orders (dictates) that no one should remain in custody not a moment longer than is necessary. This concept and the issue of bail is heavily flawed,” Persaud added.
Given that he was on leave at the time of the investigations, the Commissioner said that he offered his opinion as it regards to bail for the suspect Nizam Khan and his brother, Imran Khan.
Persaud told the Commission that the suggestion was made after the statements were taken and the confrontations were held between Nizam Khan and some other persons.
The Commissioner said, too, that he intervened on behalf of Imran Khan, the suspect’s brother since he could not post bail at the time. The latter had been accused of disorderly behaviour.
As a result of his conduct, Khan had his firearm repossessed by the police.
“I gave an undertaking to ensure that Imran Khan return whenever he is required, if he can go on his own recognizance instead of the $10,000 bail that was required of him and secondly I gave my opinion on the issue of bail for Nizam Khan.”
The witness admitted that Imran Khan is an acquaintance. He said that he knew him as businessman, who has a number of entities–vehicle, spare parts dealership and mining operations among them.
Asked by attorney Christopher Ram, the Commissioner recalled that when he first met Imran Khan in 2004, he was already a licensed firearm holder. He said however that he was never a friend of Nizam Khan.
Questioned further about his acquaintance with Khan by Attorney James Bond, the Police Commissioner said he had approved an upgrade of his licensed firearm from a .45 pistol to 9 mm pistol due to the fact that his business required better security.
Responding to questions by Attorney Selwyn Pieters, the witness said given the nature of the investigations a report on the status was forwarded to the National Security Council.
He said however that he saw no need to review the file presented to him before sending it to the Council
“My job is not to investigate. My job is to ensure that proper investigations are done,”
“How can you ensure that proper investigations are done if you don’t review the file?” Pieters asked
“I monitor, I give advice. I know that in this particular matter they were almost every day in contact with the Police Legal Adviser who is a Retired Appeal Court judge,” he said.
Pieters who is representing the interest of HGPTV Nightly News reporter, Travis Chase, then asked the Commissioner of Police whether he knew that Chase viewed the police as not handling the matter with sufficient alacrity and that he saw it as an act of covering up the investigations.
“Do you think that efforts were made to compromise the integrity of the investigations by members of the Guyana Police Force?” asked Pieters
“Not at all; I think that a proper investigation was done in the matter,”
Questioned about his records of investigations, Persaud said that he only takes notes when necessary.
“And you did not find it necessary to take notes in an investigation into a plot to assassinate the President?
“I am going to suggest to you that it was neglect of duty for you not to take notes on an important issue such as this.”
But Persaud totally denied the suggestion. He maintained that the investigations were properly conducted.
“We had very competent officers dealing with it.”
Commissioner Persaud said that the matter was brought to his attention by Senior Superintendent of Police, Wendell Blanhum.
He said that he later received a call from Imran Khan in connection with the matter. He said the businessman had filed a complaint that police had turned up at his brother’s premises to search it without a warrant.
Meanwhile, Nizam Khan, the businessman at the centre of the plot, denied offering Gillard $7 million to kill President Granger. The businessman, of Diamond East Bank Demerara, took the stand at the COI yesterday.
He related to the commission that he and Gillard were neighbours but their relationship was strained because Gillard had robbed him of some $1.8 million.
Khan said that Gillard had accused him of having an affair with his wife and even supplied the police with false information. Gillard had accused him of stealing radio sets and threatening to shoot him.
The man said that although he owned a gun, it was .32 Taurus pistol, which he had never used or thought of using.
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