The stealing of bail money by policemen on Thursday came in for sharp scrutiny by the Public Accounts Committee during an appearance by senior accounting and administrative officers of the police force.
In a specific instance involving GUY$58,500 in station bail at Kitty Police Station in 2009 that the Auditor General had said was missing, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Administration), Balram Persaud said no punitive action was taken against the policeman at the Kitty Police Station but the money was deducted from his salary.
Persaud, however, said that there have been other instances in which members of the force have been penalised.
Government representative on the PAC, Bibi Shadick and her opposition counterpart Jaipaul Sharma queried what sanctions were available in such instances. ‘This is something that is particularly worrying. People pay bail money at police stations, the bail money goes missing,” she said.
Shadick queried whether all that was done was deductions being made from police ranks salary as if they were “some advance and then we find it out we deduct it”. “Something else has to happen so that other people will be deterred from doing the same thing…We need to clean up our police force. We need people to understand that when we receive bail money and we issue a receipt, we must not assume that they people will not come back with the bail receipt and we keep the money,” he said.
Persaud said they included a two-year wait on eligibility for promotion, reduction in rank, issued warning letters or even dismissal following investigations by the Guyana Police Force’s Office of Professional Responsibility.
The Assistant Police Commissioner told the PAC that the OPR last year began conducting monthly audits of police stations countrywide. “We have put in place a proactive system to ensure that this does not happen,” he said. Both the Auditor General and Persaud told the committee that no bail money was found missing in 2013.
The Auditor General in 2011 found that bail money was missing from the Kitty Ruimveldt, Turkeyen and La Grange police stations- four of eight sample police stations.