SOCU’s credibility diminished – former AG

first_imgFraud findings…financial audit cannot affect cases before court – HarmonThe financial irregularities found during the audit of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) are testimony to the fact that, with such a record, SOCU can no longer remain part of the law enforcement arm of the State.Minister of State Joseph HarmonThis is according to former Attorney General Anil Nandlall, who has said the credibility of the work that SOCU has done and is currently pursuing has been diminished.In an interview with Guyana Times on Sunday, Nandlall said the integrity cases that were filed by SOCU in recent times leave much to “wonder about the processes”, in light of alleged findings of fraud in the audit report that has just been concluded.“A prosecutor is a minister of justice, and his duty is not to seek a conviction, but simply to place before the Court the relevant and admissible evidence. We have had situations where SOCU Prosecutors have refused to hand over to the defence a forensic audit report from which the charge stems which they are prosecuting.“Prosecutors have a duty to provide such information to the defence, and an accused person has a constitutional right to receive such information as a facility for his defense; and in the Guyana Rice Development Board cases, this facility was denied to the accused persons and their lawyers,” Nandlall said.Former Attorney General Anil NandlallAccording to the former Attorney General, he is one of the persons who assisted in the establishment of SOCU under the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Administration, and he has been one of the victims of that unit’s “malicious prosecution”; but he feels that “the shocking disclosures of corruption, fraud, abuse of power and the rogue conduct on the part of officers of SOCU” warrant that the Unit be disbanded, because it has lost its credibility.Meanwhile, State Minister Joseph Harmon told this newspaper that he does not believe the financial audit would affect the cases filed by SOCU which are currently before the court.“I have not seen the report, so I will not be able to comment on it; but I just think that it is a far stretch of imagination to basically try to say that the cases are affected in some way because of that.“I mean, the cases are brought before the court based on what the Police and the Police Legal Advisor (have recommended), and assuming that there is a case to answer. And so, once they have determined that, I don’t understand how some subsequent finding of a financial transaction within the Unit can in fact make the case before the court itself less credible. I find difficulty in making that connection,” Harmon told this publication.Meanwhile, Commissioner of Police, Leslie James, told Guyana Times last week that whatever information has to be disclosed about that report would be done via his Public Relations Officer.According to recent reports, the audit of the financial records of SOCU has uncovered serious irregularities, including the falsification of records, and it has been recommended that there be immediate transfers and a fraud investigation of several of the discrepancies, sources say.An audit of SOCU, which is a branch of the Guyana Police Force (GPF), was ordered by Police Commissioner Leslie James in February following claims of grave mismanagement, which included the misuse of its operational funds.The Unit had been engaged in major high-profile probes of former PPP/C Government officials and transgressions at state agencies. The findings of the audit would be seen as a major embarrassment for the current Government.SOCU has had several of its cases tossed out of the window by the courts, including a number of charges against former Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) executives and Guyana Bank of Trade and Industry (GBTI) directors.It was reported that during the audit of SOCU, auditors were hampered by the absence of receipts for money being used for unspecified purposes.There is also said to be evidence of unsigned entries in the financial records, while in one case an official has alleged that their signature was forged.In light of these revelations of widespread fraud and financial irregularities within SOCU, the People’s Progressive Party is calling for the unit to be closed down.last_img read more

Lockdown will end when fights do

first_imgCASTAIC – After nearly two weeks of deadly clashes, a top jail official went cell to cell Wednesday, telling inmates that a systemwide lockdown will end when they stop fighting. “When the smoke cleared, I began trying to dialogue,” said Chief Sam Jones, head of custodial operations for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. “House rules are, every man has a right to come into the system and do his time without having to worry about being attacked, injured or ultimately murdered. I told them I owed them that, and I owed their family and friends that.” Jones delivered his ultimatum Tuesday to jails in Castaic’s Pitchess Detention Center, where racial brawls last week killed one inmate and injured dozens more. About 3,000 inmates in nearby Riverside County were in the sixth day of a lockdown there, but officials said cells were peaceful and described the lockdown as a precaution in case Los Angeles County violence spilled over. In adjacent San Bernardino County, black and Hispanic inmates on a jail bus fought with fists and razor blades Tuesday morning. Fifty-five handcuffed and chained inmates were heading from the West Valley Detention Center to a court when a fight broke out in the bus and the driver turned back, said Robin Haynal, spokeswoman for the county Sheriff’s Department. As the inmates were being removed from the bus, fighting broke out again and deputies used a “sting ball” grenade to stop it. Two inmates were slightly injured by the rubber pellets and a third “had been severely kicked by another inmate,” Haynal said. It was the third fight on a jail bus from the detention center. Two earlier clashes injured 14 inmates. It was unclear whether the fighting had a direct link to the violence in Los Angeles County, which has the nation’s largest jail system, but San Bernardino inmates were aware of the problems, Haynal said. In Los Angeles County, Hispanic and black evangelical pastors announced plans Wednesday for a 24-hour vigil in suburban Gardena to pray for an end to the jail violence. Sheriff’s officials have been under intense pressure to quell the fighting. On Tuesday, the county Board of Supervisors criticized the department for failing to isolate high-risk inmates. A report to supervisors a year ago warned that it was “not permissible” to mix inmates considered to pose a greater threat of violence with offenders of lesser risk. The report by Merrick Bobb, who oversees the Sheriff’s Department for the supervisors, was commissioned after five inmates were killed in seven months in late 2003 and early 2004. The inmate who died Tuesday had been arrested on suspicion of drug possession in Long Beach and was considered a moderate security risk while several others in his six-man cell were in the second-highest risk classification. Some prisoners identified as ringleaders of the recent violence have been shifted out of dormitories and into one- and two-man cells, Jones said. “I feel that we’ve identified most of them,” he said. Whitmore and Jones said they believed the battles are losing momentum. Fights have been shorter, more infrequent, and resulted in fewer injuries, they said. The latest clash was reported Tuesday night and involved about 100 Men’s Central Jail inmates. Blacks and Latinos traded punches shortly after 9 p.m. Tuesday in a dormitory but deputies using tear gas and sting-ball pellets quickly broke up the fight, Whitmore said. Four inmates were treated for minor injuries, he said. “We’re winning. We’re doing OK,” Jones said. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant On Wednesday, he went to the downtown Men’s Central Jail, where an inmate collapsed and died after a scuffle in a cell Sunday and a brief brawl erupted Tuesday night. More than 18,000 inmates have been denied visits, phone calls, TV access and other privileges because of the violence between black and Hispanic inmates. Jones told The Associated Press that he promised inmates they would get their privileges back when peace is restored. “When I left last night, each dorm applauded and said thank you,” he said. “These people want their mail,” Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said. “They want to watch TV. They want to get back to, if you will, some kind of regular existence behind bars.” last_img read more

Events taking place in Donegal for Child and Family Support Week

first_imgSpecial public events are planned across Donegal this week as Tusla – Child and Family Agency hosts National Child and Family Support Week 2019.From May 13th – 19th , events of the week aim to promote and celebrate the support services that Tusla provides to parents, children, young people and communities right across Ireland. In Donegal, some of the events taking place include:Challenging Behaviour Workshop by challenging behavioural specialist, John Curran – Raphoe Family Resource Centre, Monday 13thof May, 6.30PM-9.30PMShaping Ourselves and Our Children – Lifestart Programme – Donegal Family Resource Centre, Main St., Donegal Town, Thursday 16th of May, 9.30AM-1.30PMThe programme aims to support parents/grandparents/guardians/carers of young children to create a home conducive to good child social and emotional development, inclusiveness and a respect for social and cultural diversity.Cuppa and A Chat – Coffee Morning – Parentstop, Riverfront House, Pearse Road, Letterkenny, Friday 17th of May, 10.30AM-12.30PMFurther information and a full list of local events can be found at about the week, Marie Crawley, Senior PPFS manager for Donegal, Tusla, said, “We are delighted to be taking part in National Child and Family Support week once again, giving us the opportunity to showcase some of the services we offer to families in Donegal and let people know how they can engage with these supports. We encourage people to attend the events in Donegal and learn about the services and support that are available from local agencies and Tusla.”Events taking place in Donegal for Child and Family Support Week was last modified: May 11th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:National Child and Family Support Week 2019TUSLAlast_img read more

Great Lakes leaders recommit to ending conflicts

first_img16 January 2014 The 5th Summit of the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) concluded in Luanda, Angola on Wednesday with leaders recommitting to bringing about peace and stability in the region. South African President Jacob Zuma was among those in attendance at the summit, which focused in particular on conflicts in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan. The leaders resolved review their implementation of the ICGLR Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region and the United Nations (UN) Framework for Peace, Security and Cooperation for the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Region. Zuma said South Africa had been invited to participate in the summit as South Africa was one of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries that had contributed to the UN Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (Monusco). “Matters discussed in the Great Lakes Region Summit have an impact on the DRC,” Zuma said. “It is for this reason that South Africa participated throughout the summit, and found the consultations useful and positive.”DRC Regarding the security situation in the DRC, the leaders welcomed the declarations signed by the DRC government and the defeated former M23 rebels in December. The summit urged Monusco to urgently intensify its operations to eradicate all other negative forces operating in the eastern DRC, since their activities were also threatening the security of the Great Lakes Region. According to Zuma, the government of the DRC was committed to dealing with this matter, and Monusco had been tasked to effectively eradicate these forces. “This is a matter that Africa has taken up in a particular way to achieve sustainable peace and stability on the continent,” he added.CAR, South Sudan The summit expressed deep concern at the recent outbreak of violence and the worsening security and humanitarian situation in the CAR and South Sudan. They urged the African Union (AU), which meets next week, and its partners to strengthen the International Mission for the Stabilisation of Central African Republic (Misca) by availing resources and logistical support to enable it to fulfil its mandate. They also offered political and other forms of support for the ongoing mediation efforts in South Sudan, led by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development. South Africa, given its experience in conflict resolution and national reconciliation, was requested to assist by intervening in the process of finding an immediate solution to bring about peace in that country. The 6th Summit of the ICGLR will take place in Kenya on 15 December 2015. The ICGLR members are Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, the DRC, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia. Source: read more