SOCU’s actions point to flagrant abuse of power – Ramotar

first_imgIn highlighting the alleged abuse of power by the current Government, former President Donald Ramotar has said the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) — set up to fight against money laundering and drug trafficking — has now become a political organisation.Ramotar said on Thursday that the two crimes seemed to correlate; and therefore, under the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), this agency was birthed.He said other countries had set up similar organisations to fight those two serious crimes, and the idea was to deny criminals any loophole in the country’s system. However, since the change of Government in May 2015, the main purpose of SOCU has changed.“The focus is no longer on money laundering and drug trafficking. It has become a political tool of the parties that compose the Government. Its main purpose, from all its actions, is to harass the Opposition PPP and officials in various Government departments and agencies whom they want to remove,” he said.The former President said also that SOCU has become the main instrument in the regime’s witch-hunting campaign. According to him, all the cases that SOCU has investigated and is investigating are cases that should have been sent to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID). He believes that none of those cases has anything to do with what SOCU has been established for; that is: money laundering.Ramotar recalled that, under the PPP Administration, SOCU was a part of the Guyana Police Force (GPF). He said it was to take its instructions from the Commissioner of Police, and was to be financed through the budget of the GPF; but all of that has changed and things continue to get worse.SOCU, according to Ramotar, has also been acting above the law. “In Court, they, through prosecutors, are refusing to give defence lawyers the forensic reports from which charges were made. Recently, a magistrate had to summon the Head of SOCU to find out why that body was not providing those reports to the defence lawyers. This is a great violation of the rights of the accused,” he noted.In describing the situation as a “great misuse of power”, the former Head of State said that by transforming SOCU to perform the functions of the ‘gendarme’ of the APNU/AFC — to harass its political opponents — the Government has created fertile ground for further abuse of power.“It has already led to political harassment and violation of people’s constitutional rights. The ruling elite are using the state apparatus to destroy competitors and persons they want out of the Government. For them, the Constitution is just a piece of paper that they throw in the waste basket,” Ramotar said.last_img

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