September 26, 2016

Inquiry Board to probe CANU-narco link allegations – National Security Committee Head

Dataram’s revelations

In light of the damning allegations made by self-confessed drug baron Barry Dataram earlier this week, President David Granger has announced that a Board of Inquiry (BoI) will be established to investigate claims of corruption within various security agencies.

President David Granger

President David Granger

Head of CANU James Singh

Head of CANU James Singh

Self-professed drug baron Barry Dataram

Self-professed drug baron Barry Dataram

Dataram, during an interview with HGPTV Nightly News (Channel 67), alleged that senior officials of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) are involved in illegal drug trafficking activities and even alleged that one of the agents bagged some $10 million in exchange for allowing cocaine to leave the country. He also made allegations against the fairly new Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).

However, speaking with reporters on Wednesday, President David Granger revealed that the National Security Committee (NSC), which he currently heads, decided during their weekly meeting on Tuesday to establish a Board of Inquiry to look into the allegations.

“Yes we’re convening an inquiry to investigate the allegations which were made… Yesterday, this matter came up before the Committee and we have decided that a Board of Injury will be convened… that inquiry will determine the veracity of the information which was published in the newspapers,” the Head of State stated.

According to the President, the Inquiry will be headed by an officer that is yet to be named. He added too that the persons who will be conducting the probe will be given Terms of Reference to guide them in investigating the allegations of alleged improper behaviour of officers of the State.

When further asked, President Granger pointed out that if the probe finds any State agents culpable, then the course of action taken will be in accordance with the law.

“We will deal with the culpable in a way we always deal with the culpable. We expect that there will be due process, if there is a case to answer… (by) the persons alleged to have committed an offence.We will ensure that the person, after proper investigations, is put before the Court but we will not interfere in the judicial process,” the Head of State posited.

He went on to say that once there is a case to answer to, then the case along with necessary information will be forwarded to the relevant authorities for the law to take its course. “We’re not persecuting anybody but we just want to know the facts and we will take it from there,” Granger stressed.

The highly sensationalised interview with Dataram and his nephew aired on Monday evening, and the country’s premier anti-narco agency subsequently released a statement that said night, dismissing the accusations.

In fact, Head of CANU James Singh denies all allegations of impropriety levelled against the Unit by the Dataram family. He explained that Dataram’s savagery against his agency may be as a result of his (Dataram’s) uneasiness due to the commencement of his trial for possession of129.230kg of cocaine that was found in Shrimp at his Lot 661 Fourth Avenue, Block X, Diamond, East Bank Demerara (EBD), residence on April 16, 2015.

On the other hand, Singh stated that CANU welcomes the “frank confessions” of Dataram as it relates to his involvement in the narcotics trade and urged him, along with “others” connected to the narcotic trade both small and large; mules and traffickers alike, to attend the nearest court, Police station and or the CANU Head Quarters Georgetown to provide useful intelligence in past and ongoing investigations and operations.

“CANU welcomes further public confessions of criminal elements. CANU urges the citizenry to stand up, speak out, to have the tenacity to testify against the elements of the narcotic trade; and help the Unit make Guyana a safer place,” he stated.

Singh added that CANU agrees that all law enforcement bodies should operate justly and within the confines of the law and noted that this is a welcomed wave of change Guyanese should continue to adopt this apparently new stance of intolerance to white collar crime plaguing Guyana.

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