By Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell

The Guyana Police Force is yet to take action on the advice that was handed down by Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack, months ago, to carry out further investigations into corrupt activities that occurred when Sydney James headed the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) up to July 2019.

According to reliable sources within the force, the DPP recommended that there be investigations to tie up loose ends as it relates to signatures James forged.

There was also a recommendation to carry out investigations into the current head of SOCU, Superintendent Althea Padmore. The source said, “There are still some unclear matters regarding her role, if there was at all, regarding the corrupt activities.”

Sources disclosed that during earlier investigations that were led by the Guyana Police Force’s Audit Department, Padmore provided statements to the effect that James forged her signature to cover up expenditures he made.

Padmore said that her signature was forged for 10 honour certificates amounting to well over $1M. These certificates were done to show that James did not act alone, that he had permission to access the Unit’s operational fund to carry out his duties.

Her signature was also forged to show that she collected some $100,000 from James on another occasion. She vehemently told the auditors that she never received the money noting that the said sum was a personal loan she provided for James. Padmore stressed that since it was a personal loan it should not have been deducted from the Unit’s revenues.

Furthermore, her signature was duplicated in a payment book in 2016 to show that she received $250,000 for “sources.” Padmore insisted to the auditors that James was the only person who had the payment books and that their handwriting is similar. Padmore further stressed that she was hired by SOCU as a Financial Investigator and at no time was she part of intelligence gathering, hence she could not be part of making payments to informants.

In addition to the issue of forged signatures, James is under investigation by the Guyana Police Force for quantities of gold that were confiscated via several money laundering cases and doctored invoices to and from several local stores.


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