The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament yesterday expressed alarm that members of the police force who have misappropriated bail money for their personal use do not face sanction, including criminal charges.
“This is something that is particularly worrying. People pay bail money at police stations. The bail money goes missing… these officers use this bail money as if it’s some advance and when we find out they just deduct it…,” PPP/C committee member Bibi Shadick stated.
The situation came in for scrutiny by the PAC yesterday based on the Auditor General’s findings for the 2011 fiscal year on the Home Affairs Ministry.
It was found that bail monies could not be accounted for by four or 50% of stations randomly surveyed.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (Administration) Balram Persaud was asked what penalties were in place for officers found guilty of the misappropriation. He explained that ranks found guilty by the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) could be demoted, have promotions bypassed for two years, face criminal charges or be dismissed from the force. However, to date, he said that no such action was taken against any officer for misappropriation of bail monies.
“Something else has to happen, so that other people will be deterred from doing the same thing… We need to clean up our police force. These people must understand that when they see bail money they must know that ‘This isn’t mine to keep because the people won’t come back with the bail receipt.’ …That is not good enough, just not good enough,” Shadick lamented.
Persaud said that since the discovery in 2011, the OPR began conducting monthly audits of police stations countrywide and that as of last year no bail money was found missing.
Shadick and APNU MP Jaipaul Sharma sought assurances from the police force that its scrutiny is continuous.
Stabroek News understands that a substantial percentage of bail monies go uncollected every year. An accountant of the Guyana Police Force said that the monies are not returned to persons in cash but given in cheque form and those not collected go into the public treasury after five years.