Latest update May 28th, 2023 12:59 AM
Mar 22, 2023 News
…cites frequent reports of corruption in 2022
Kaieteur News – The United States Government has flagged the Guyana Police Force’s (GPF) failure to investigate claims that some of its officers were bribed by a businessman to foil the Ricardo Fagundes also called ‘Paper Shorts’ murder investigation.
In its 2022 Human Rights Report released on Monday, corruption of police officers was frequent in 2022. One of the major corruption scandals was that of senior investigating officers of the Force’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) accepted a $30M a bribe to cover-up the 2021 murder of Fagundes.
“In August, police officer, Dion Bascom alleged that a businessman bribed members of the Guyana Police Force to foil an investigation into an execution-style killing of Ricardo Fagundes, a gold miner. As of October (2022), police had not investigated Bascom’s claims”, the US Department of Statement said.
The Department of State’s conclusion that the Force did not investigate the bribery claims was made after the Barbados-headquartered Regional Security Service (RSS) had completed a review of the Force’s investigation into Fagundes’ murder.
In August last year, the government was forced to invite the RSS to review the work done by the Force in the murder probe after Bascom publicly accused the Police Force of covering up the case.
According to media reports, President Mohamed Irfaan Ali had specifically said, “the RSS will review work done on the murder of Fagundes and will also review the allegations made by Detective Sergeant Dion Bascom”.
The RSS completed its review the following month and on September 09, 2022 publicly reported that it did not find any alleged cover-up in Fagundes’ killing and called Bascom’s allegations “Hearsay”.
Many have since criticized the findings, including Fagundes’ relatives and it appears that the US Department of State is of the view that the Force could have done more than just allow the RSS to review its work into the high-profile murder case.
Since the bribery allegations were made, the GPF has only denied them and called Bascom a liar. Rather than opening a probe into what he had said, the Force moved to prosecute him instead for breaching its code of contact.
The officer had multiple Facebook lives and posts accusing Mark Richmond, a security guard with Mohamed’s Enterprise, of being involved in Fagundes’ murder. Fagundes was killed in a hail of bullets in March 2021 by two men who emerged from the back seat of a heavily tinted white Toyota Fielder Wagon.
Bascom had even implicated popular businessman Azruddin Mohamed in the crime and accused one of his bosses at the Criminal Investigation (CID) Headquarters, Mitchell Caesar, of conspiring with them to cover up the matter.
All three of the men named by Bascom have since filed lawsuits suing him millions for defaming their character. Nevertheless, Bascom stood by his allegations and publicly related that he has evidence to back them up but was fearful for his life and needed protection.
The detective was fearful that the GPF would allow harm to come his way because, according to him, one of the suspects in the investigation had threatened him but the Force did not investigate the matter.
Crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum, had confirmed that the CID was aware of the alleged threat but did nothing to help Bascom because “ranks there don’t investigate threats.” The detective was advised to lodge a report at the Brickdam Police Station but the ranks there too did not deal with the matter.
Bascom had requested protection from the state via his lawyer, Nigel Hughes, but President Ali never granted his request.
Instead, the officer has been slapped several criminal charges, including cybercrimes and while he is before the courts, Fagundes’ murder is still to be solved some two years later.
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