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Police probe into alleged fraud in IDB-funded security prog likely

Citizens Security Programme talk?: Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee and IDB Guyana Representative Sophie Makonnen chatting after the Commissioning Ceremony of the Guyana Police Force Officers Training Centre.

Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee on Monday said Guyanese police could be called in to probe an alleged fraud in the Citizens Security Programme (CSP) after the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) completed its probe.

He said a copy of the complaint by an aggrieved contractor was already dispatched to the police.

“The police were given a copy of the letter but the police will have to await the IDB report to see what the IDB report says,” he said when asked why the police have not been investigating the allegation.

At the centre of the scheme is Guyanese Khemraj Rai who was the Coordinator of the US$19 million CSP until he, according to Rohee, resigned purportedly because of ill health.

The minister said during their almost more than one month mission, IDB investigators questioned several persons in the CSP’s Project Implementation Unit (PIU) and took away a number of documents.

IDB Country Representative Sophie Makonnen would not confirm or deny that the hemispheric bank was conducting an investigation.

Contractor Viddiadat Jaisari of Number 7 Village West Coast Berbice alleged that Rai had withdrawn millions of dollars that had been deposited in a bank account in his (Jaisari) name but without his knowledge. Jaisari claimed to have never been the signatory to a joint account with Rai. He alleged that bids for certain items had been submitted in his name just below the asking price.

The Home Affairs Minister believed that the deal went “sour” resulting in a formal complaint being made to him. On receiving Jaisari’s correspondence, Rohee said he notified the IDB, Ministry of Finance and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs. “From the beginning we have been very transparent,” he said.

Rohee said government would be working with the IDB and the Ministry of Finance to ensure that that “most unfortunate experience” does not recur.

During the IDB investigators’ almost one month mission here, they interviewed several employees of the PIU and collected records. “We gave them access to all the files. They examined all they wanted to examine. I issued instructions that all the persons that they wanted to interview should make themselves available to be interviewed,” added Rohee.

The Home Affairs Minister could not say whether Rai has been interviewed by the team from the IDB’s Office of Integrity.

Asked how he felt that the security project was caught up in an alleged fraud, Rohee said: “Very bad! I don’t feel happy about it. It is not a good sign. It is just like if you are talking about corruption in the police force,” he said.

The political head of internal security said the CSP officials were recruited based on their professional qualifications and expertise.