Audit reveals over 150 guns vanished from Police custody under APNU/AFC Govt
With an audit into the Guyana Police Force (GPF) revealing that over 150 firearms have vanished from Police custody under the previous APNU/AFC Government, Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn has assured that all efforts will be made to ensure authorities recover those guns.
The missing guns were revealed in an audit conducted into the GPF after the change in Government. It is understood that these weapons were either seized from criminals and were to be as exhibits in cases, or firearms lodged by private citizens.
When contacted by this publication, Minister Benn confirmed the missing cache of weapons. He further assured that all efforts will be made to track down the firearms, but could not give further details until he had completed a perusal of the report. Minister Benn also confirmed that the financial aspect of the audit is continuing.
“I’ve been told that a number of weapons of that kind are missing. There’s otherwise an audit ongoing into the financial department of the Police Force and that is underway,” Benn told this publication.
Under the previous A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government, Khemraj Ramjattan – who served as Minister of Public Security – would have had oversight for the GPF. Efforts to contact him on the matter proved futile.
In the past, guns that have gone missing from the hands of the Joint Services have subsequently been linked to criminal activities. During the 2018 Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the Lindo Creek massacre, it was revealed that a number of weapons and ammunition which were stolen in February 2006 were later used in the commission of various crimes.
The 2019 audit into the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) is the last time an audit was conducted into the operations of the Police Force. That audit had turned up a heap of financial irregularities and ultimately resulted in the removal of the then SOCU Head Sydney James.
The probe into the operations of the white-collar crime-fighting Unit was triggered when the former British adviser to SOCU, Dr Sam Sittlington, made a number of startling allegations against the Unit.
Following the allegations, James was subjected to questioning over allegations of improper spending, as part of the investigation and audit which stemmed after the termination of the British adviser.
In February 2018, during his address at the opening of the Annual Police Officers’ Conference, the then President David Granger had called for an incorruptible Police force. He had said that Security Sector Reform, which his administration is committed to and working on implementing, will seek to tackle this issue that is plaguing the country’s premier law enforcement agency.