Last Updated on Friday, 11 August 2017, 16:15 by Denis Chabrol
Acting Police Commissioner, David Ramnarine on Friday denied that he misled President David Granger about the status of a probe into an alleged assassination plot, and said he had been told that of only one statement just before briefing the Guyanese leader.
“I did not mislead the President,” Ramnarine told the Commission of Inquiry into how well the Guyana Police Force had probed the March 29, 2017 report by Andriff Guillard that in June, 2015 another businessman, Nizam Khan, had allegedly offered him GYD$7 million to kill the President.
The Commission of Inquiry is being conducted by Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Paul Slowe.
He explained that he went to brief the President based on developments on March 29 including Crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum’s oral briefing by cell phone on March 30.
Under cross-examination by Attorney-at-Law, Glen Hanoman, the Acting Police Commissioner labelled as “quite outrageous” a suggestion by the lawyer that he gave the President false information based on one statement instead of three statements.
“I have evidence before me that statements had been taken from three different persons by the time you went to meet the President,” said Hanoman, a well-known criminal lawyer. He added that statements were taken from Guillard, Nizam Khan and Stephen Persaud.
Ramnarine said “not at all” was it reckless for him to have briefed the President on the probe without knowing all the details. “This was an initial brief. Investigations were still continuing,” he said.
The Acting top cop said background checks conducted on the night of March 29, 2017 at that point in time by Special Branch, the Guyana Police Force’s espionage arm, did not uncover any alleged crimes, charges or convictions by Guillard and Nizam Khan.
Ramnarine, who has already admitted to the Commission of Inquiry that he was not trained as a detective, said he did not give the Crime Chief any specific instructions but urged him to spare no effort to oversee the investigation and immediately probe Guillard’s report because it involved the Head of State. “I did not tell him to do that. That was implied in the conversation we had,” he said. He added that it was not a matter of doubt but the very serious nature of the investigation that required him to remind or emphasise that to Blanhum that the requisite attention be paid.
Ramnarine said he had no idea that the requisite attention was not being paid to the probe “but there was a duty to ensure that it was said, repeated”.
Acknowledging that the initial stage of an investigation is most important, he later said based on certain actions his instructions were “largely disregarded”. That appeared to be a reference to substantive Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud’s role in releasing Nizam Khan and Imran Khan from custody. Imran Khan, who was held for disorderly conduct at the Criminal Investigations Department headquarters, is a friend of Persaud, but he said he scarcely knows Nizam.
Ramnarine said he agree that the police probe was lethargic and he could not defend the Guyana Police Force, although he dd not have all of the information at his disposal. He said he had some idea of the investigations that were being conducted.
“I don’t have to know everything that is going on,” he said.
The Acting Police Commissioner rejected assertions that he was willing to pander politically although he did not have all the facts.
Inquiry Commissioner Slowe again blocked Attorney-at-Law Hanoman from questioning the Acting Police Commissioner about his ties to Saddiqui ‘Bobby” Rasul who has since been charged with an almost GYD$1 billion fraud allegedly committed against a commercial bank. Hanoman said he wanted to pursue that line of questioning to show that there was “malice” by Ramnarine against the substantive Police Commissioner and the Crime Chief because they had raised concerns about certain actions that he (Ramnarine) had taken while he had previously acted as top cop.
Meanwhile, Guillard earlier Friday told the Commission of Inquiry that he was so frustrated with the way police at the Grove-Diamond Police Station had been treating him whenever he had been locked up there. At one time, he said he had been locked in a cell that had become infested with ants and cockroaches because police had thrown sugar water inside.
He said police at that station and possibly residents in the area, who would have been at the station at the time of his detention, might have heard him kicking down the cell door and complaining bitterly about Nizam Khan’s monetary offer for him to kill the President.
Guillard said he eventually met an Attorney-at-Law, who he preferred not to name publicly but in-camera at his request, who advised him to go to the Ministry of the Presidency to have his concerns addressed. Demerara Waves Online News was told that the lawyer also has a history of working in the media and is a known supporter of the coalition-led administration.
When he was cross-examined, Gulliard said he could not remembered specific dates or alleged crimes he would have been involved in.
At the request of Attorney-at-Law Hanoman, the Commission has decided to call Police Legal Adviser, Retired Justice Claudette Singh to the witness stand. Based on advice provided by her on account of the evidence supplied by police, no one has been charged with the offence of incitement to commit murder.
Showed a post on his Facebook page in which he reproduced picture of a long black gun, Guillard said his intention was to highlight the type of weapon that had been showed to him by Nizam Khan.
Police have already said a search of Nizam Khan’s residence on March 29, 2017 did not uncover any weapon fitting that description, and that the only firearm that was taken possession of was the suspect’s .32 handgun along with his license.