Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 August 2022, 8:36 by Denis Chabrol
Police Commissioner Clifton Hicken and Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes on Wednesday differed on whether Sergeant Dion Bascom was available to investigators about his damning allegations against a senior police officer and two other persons in the gunning down of Ricardo “Paper Shorts” Fagundes last year.
Mr Hughes also said President Irfaan Ali has not responded to his request for “witness protection” to be provided to the policeman who levelled the accusations after he and several others were arrested by Customs Anti-Narcotic Unit (CANU) agents during the seizure of 1.5 kilogrammes of cocaine. Mr Bascom has not been charged with any drug-related offence and said that he had gone there to visit his wheelchair-bound longtime friend
Noting that Mr Bascom, “at his request, is at home on sick leave,” Mr Hicken said the policeman has been unhelpful to investigators. “Sergeant Bascom has refused to submit himself to any investigation by the police of his public allegations, nor provide any evidence in support of the allegations which he has made public,” the Police Commissioner said.
Mr. Hughes said although Mr Bascom is on sick leave from last Saturday, that would not have meant that he would have been unavailable to investigators. “Their statement clearly discloses that they are incapable of conducting an independent investigation as they have arrived at a conclusion on Bascom without even interviewing him,” the lawyer said.
Though Mr Bascom’s public outburst in Facebook following his arrest on 8th August, 2022, his allegations against the senior police officer and the two other persons do not appear to be new to the Guyana Police Force as his statement to police about an alleged threat by the security guard was dated 7th February, 2022. Mr Hughes said a second statement dated 8th February, 2022 was submitted to the Police Force’s Office of Professional Responsibility.
Mr Bascom has alleged that the senior police officer took GY$30 million from the son of a gold dealer to cover up the killing of Fagundes in March 2021 outside Palm Court, Main Street, Georgetown. The policeman has also alleged that a guard, who works with the gold dealer, was given advance notice to pack up and leave his Bent Street, Georgetown residence hurriedly.
Mr. Hughes, on behalf of his client, has since dared the sole lawyer for the police officer, the gold dealer’s son and the security guard, to go ahead and sue the policeman f0r defamation because the claims are true and would not be withdrawn.
Bascom faces punishment for “unfounded” allegations
Police Commissioner Hicken said an internal investigation by the Guyana Police Force’s Office of Professional Responsibility has revealed that Mr Bascom’s allegations were “unfounded”.
The top cop said the report has since been submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for advice, and he hinted that the policeman could be punished for breaching rules governing the police force. “Sergeant Bascom’s public statements – made while serving as an active member of the Guyana Police Force – is in breach of the Code of Conduct of the Police Force,” he said.
The prominent Attorney-at-Law said he he was contemplating proceedings to compel the government to establish the Protected Disclosures Commission.
He said the aim would be to compel the authorities to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations as well as offer witness protection.
Mr. Hughes said efforts would be made to seek international help to probe the gunning down of Fagundes who drug convict Roger Khan had said was his close family friend. “In the interim as a result of the failure to conclude the investigation into the murder after over a year it is evident they need help and we hope to find out whether whether there are friendly countries who may be willing to offer assistance to support the investigation,” the lawyer said.
Mr Khan is already on record as saying since last year that there was a cover-up in the gunning down of Fagundes shortly after he had exited Palm Court.