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Assassination plot: Police Commissioner Persaud denies instructing bail for friend, brother

Last Updated on Monday, 31 July 2017, 13:43 by Denis Chabrol

Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud in the witness box at the Commission of Inquiry into the police force’s effectiveness in probing the alleged plot to assassinate the President.

Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud denied instructing that bail be granted to a man who allegedly plotted to kill President David Granger, saying that he merely offered an “opinion” based on the investigations at that stage.

Persaud said while he was on leave, he also suggested to Detective Narine instead of ordered the release of the alleged assassination plotter’s brother, Imran Khan, who his friend on his own recognisance after he had called saying that he could not have afforded the GYD$10,000 cash bail.

“I gave an undertaking to ensure that Imran Khan returns whenever he is required, if he can go on his own recognisance instead of the 10-thousand cash bail that was post to him and secondly I gave my opinion on the issue of bail for Nizam Khan,” the Police Commissioner told a Commission of Inquiry into how effective the Guyana Police Force investigated an alleged plot to kill President David Granger. Imran Khan had been accused of disorderly behaviour at the CID Headquarters where he had gone to look into his brother’s interest.

Reasons, he listed, for granting bail are gravity of the offence, credibility of the accuser, or if the person is a flight risk.

Andriff  Guillard alleged to police in March, 2017 that back in June 2015, Nizam Khan had offered him GYD$7 million to kill the Guyanese leader and showed him a long black gun that was supposed to be used in committing the offence.

Persaud said, while on leave, he first knew of the alleged offence when he received a call from his friend, Imran Khan, saying that the police was at his brother’s home to conduct a search without a warrant and not informing him about the offence. On the issue of obtaining a search warrant, he said it is an operational decision and that search was not illegal because Nizam Khan had eventually granted permission.

Police Commissioner Persaud acknowledged that an assassination plot was related to treason, but he had seen no need to detain Nizam Khan much longer based on the confrontation with Guillard at the Criminal Investigations Department and legal advice that the evidence was very weak.

For the first time, the Police Commissioner said he agreed with a police recommendation that Guillard be charged with supply investigators with false information. He said although the accuser was aggrieved with Nizam Khan for several months before making the allegation, he had only done so March 29. Guillard’s allegations included that Nizam Khan had stolen from him, pulled his firearm and threatened to cripple him and that Imran Khan allegedly had an affair with his wife, and that three witnesses had given evidence that Guillard had fabricated the story.

Seelall said he had read statements, now totaling more than 60 pages, on the matter.

Persaud  disagreed with Acting Police Commissioner, David Ramnarine’s opinion that the police investigation was improper and that he first heard of that assessment during the Commission of Inquiry. The substantive top cop said Ramnarine never made know that view to Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan or the National Security Committee. “There weren’t any logics to that and that might have been something he might have made up whikle he was in this box…I don’t (share his opinion that the investigation was improper). On the contrary, I believe that a proper investigation was done,” he said. Persaud added there was no evidence that the alleged assassination plotter being on bail had interfered in any way with the probe or he never reported to police to assist with the investigator.

He added that Ramnarine was never a member of the Criminal Investigations Department.

Under examination by his lawyer, Glen Hanoman, the Police Commissioner said statements taken after Guillard’s tended to support the legal adviser’s view that the evidence was tenuous.

Persaud said Imran Khan has been his friend for several years now and he had even approved an upgrade of his licensed firearm from a 9MM pistol to a .45 pistol because the businessman usually moves a large amount of gold to the place of sale. He, however, said he is not a friend of Nizam Khan. The top cop said he has no business ties with Imran Khan.

Touching on the issue of whether he had a legitimate right to deal with matters while he was on leave, Persaud said the law only provides for one Police Commissioner and an Acting Commissioner takes over if there the substantive top cop is on pre-retirement leave or the office becomes vacant.

The Police Commissioner said he never informed the Head of the Presidential Guard because he was sure that was done.

Under cross-examination by Attorney-at-Law, Selwyn Pieters on behalf of television journalist, Travis Chase, the Police Commissioner said he did not have a police pocket book and he only records entries in a diary if the need arises.  He said he did not take notes on the alleged plot to assassinate the President and his decision not to do so did not amount to a neglect of duty.

Prior to dispatching a report on the status of the probe to the National Security Council, the Police Commissioner said he saw no need to review the file. “I didn’t find it necessary…yeah we have very competent officers dealing with it,” he said. “My job is int to investigate. My job is to ensure that proper investigations are done,” said Persaud, triggering a quick question by Pieters. “How can you ensure that proper investigations are done if you don’t review the file? Persaud’s response: “I monitor, I give advice. I know that in this particular matter they were almost everyday in contact with the Police Legal Adviser who is a Retired Appeal Court judge.”

The Commission of Inquiry is being conducted by Retired Assistant Police Commissioner, Paul Slowe.

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July 2017