Fmr SOCU Head surrenders to Police, released on $300,000 bail

Several days after the Guyana Police Force (GPF) issued a wanted bulletin for former Head of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) Sydney James, he has surrendered to authorities.

Former SOCU Head Sydney James

This was confirmed by Head of the Force’s Communications Unit Mark Ramotar, who explained that James was placed on $300,000 station bail.
James had been sent on administrative leave and subsequently replaced under the APNU/AFC coalition Government following allegations of mismanagement and falsifying documents at SOCU.
In a notice issued on November 3, the Police said that James, whose address was given as George Avenue, Lamaha Springs, North Ruimveldt, Georgetown, is wanted for questioning in relation to obtaining money by false pretence and fraud offences.
“[He is] wanted for questioning in connection with a series of reports of obtaining money by false pretences committed in Georgetown, Guyana,” the notice said.
In 2019, SOCU officials, including James, had faced accusations regarding falsified invoices which had borne forged signatures. This was unearthed after a forensic audit was launched by the Police Force, which has oversight of the white-collar crime body, into SOCU’s operations.
Other irregularities that were unearthed had included falsified records and missing documents. According to reports, there was even a case of an official who alleged his signature was forged. In addition, there are reports of listed expenditure being concocted and receipts being backdated.
James was sent on leave and subsequently replaced by then Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan.