Police accused of stealing money, gold chain in WCD raid
…Force to introduce new raid protocol
Dhanpaul (only name given), a businessman of Lot 45 Uitvlugt Pasture, WCD, is accusing Guyana Police Force (GPF) ranks of removing more than $300,000 in cash and jewelry from his place of business following a raid conducted by more than 20 plainclothes ranks on the premises late Friday night.
According to the businessman, at about 20:30hrs on Friday, the GPF swooped down on, and searched, his business place for approximately two hours, informing him that they were acting on information that he had drugs and guns stashed at his home and business place.
Dhanpaul owns and operates the Colombian Gold Night Club; Dhanpaul and Sons Pawn Shop; and a Cambio at the lower flat of the building, while he lives at the upper flat. On June 07, three bandits ambushed two men drinking at Dhanpaul’s club, shot one person, and escaped with an undisclosed sum of cash, licensed firearm, cell phones and jewelry. Twenty-one-year-old Jifon Gulliver was arrested and charged for the crime.
“When I come in, they say that they are searching for cocaine and guns, so I ask them who is in charge of the raid, and a short rank (name provided) said he is responsible for the search; and he said that they are going to do the search on a camera, and I did not object,” he related.
He explained that the officers went into the upper flat, and while searching his bedroom, he questioned the lack of a camera to record the search. The man said he then proceeded to switch on his security cameras, and the officers objected to this course of action.
“Whilst (searching) the house, they (officers) carry away some money (approximately $20,000) my wife give to my son to put up before they came. I picked up my money I had stashed downstairs, but a chain I wear earlier in the day was down on the lower flat and I didn’t find that chain too. That chain was 36 pennyweight and it is valued (at) over $300,000,” the father of three related.
The man said he is angry because the police would regularly target the family, and all their searches have turned up empty. He added that, in 2013, the Police conducted a similar search on his premises and more than $800,000 went missing. A report was made, but no progress has been made in the investigation. To date, there have been no headway in that matter.
Dhanpaul said that following the discovery on Friday night, made after the police had left, he travelled to the Leonora Police Station and made a report of the missing cash and items.
The frustrated businessman said he is tired of the police frequenting his home and business place without any proper information. “I am sick and tired of this here. Every time Police come here, it affecting the business, because people think there is something illegal going on here. I went to the station and (lodged) a complaint (in relation to the missing cash and jewelry). I just hope that this doesn’t happen again, because is like these people targeting me and my family. When we do need the police they does never come, and we are fed up,” Dhanpaul complained.
Contacted, ‘D’ Division (West Demerara/East Bank Essequibo) Commander Leslie James confirmed the raid and said it was executed by ranks from Georgetown. However, he was unable to say whether anything illegal was recovered or whether an investigation would be launched to ascertain the truth behind Dhanpaul’s allegations.
The GPF Public Relations Officer Jairam Ramlakhan has said that in order to combat the allegations of officers stealing, the Force would be introducing a new system, wherein the raid party would be required to lodge every item seized before leaving the raid site. He added that both the rank in charge and the person whose premises is being raided would be required to document the items being confiscated and sign the list, each party receiving a copy thereof.
“This new system is to restore the public’s trust in the police, and it is also safeguarding both parties, so these allegations do not come up,” he posited.