Roger Khan had used a former school mate of the now dead notorious criminal Rondell ‘Fineman’ Rawlins to infiltrate the Buxton gang, and Rawlins had later asked the same school mate to secure an identification card for a gang member who was to receive a crate of weapons.
However, following the September 2005 shooting to death of boxing coach, Donald Allison, Rawlins became suspicious of the school mate and cut all ties with him, court papers have said.
The ex-school mate, who had started to work for Khan, is now being used by US prosecutors in Khan’s drug trial as well as in the witness-tampering case against Khan and his lawyers Robert Simels and Arianne Irving, as a key witness.
This was the man prosecutors used to record conversations with Simels, leading to Simels, Irving and Khan being slapped with the witness-tampering charge arising out of the drug case.
Stabroek News has seen a transcript of secretly recorded conversations the man had with Simels and Irving, just before the three were charged with witness tampering. In it, the man referred to by prosecutors as their confidential source (CS), revealed how he had met Rawlins on more than one occasion in Buxton and he even spoke about being “in the vicinity” when persons were killed. The CS spoke about how he, Khan and others would sometimes meet on a daily basis and exchange information.
Rawlins, who was believed to be the head of the gang that terrorised this country for over six years, robbing and murdering, was gunned down late last year at Kuru Kururu, Linden-Soesdyke Highway. He was said to be the mastermind behind the brutal killings of several persons at Lusignan and Bartica and the police have also stated that he was responsible for the killings of the eight miners at Lindo Creek.
In 2006, just prior to him fleeing to Suriname, which saw him being arrested and later taken to the US, Khan had claimed in newspaper advertisements that he fought alongside law enforcement to defeat criminals in Guyana. However, prosecutors have countered that Khan was actually involved in criminal activities, such as killing rivals, to further his drug enterprise.
During their first conversation, the CS told Simels his name and his alias, which was ‘Fineman.’
Simels: “…I presume [CS’s name] is your real name?”
Simels: “Okay. Instead of just Fineman. Because you would be in a lot of trouble if you’re just Fineman, you know,” Simels said in obvious reference to Rawlins who was still alive.
CS: “Right man. I guess you’re referring to that other guy there,” another reference to Rawlins.
The CS then related how he ended up working for Khan which was after his cousin, who once worked for Khan, ended up in jail in the US.
It was in January 2005, the CS said, that he met the “director”. At that time, the CS lived in Agricola next door to Allison.
Simels and the CS spoke about the fact that Allison was deported from the US then Simels asked the CS what he actually did in connection with Khan.
CS: “Basically we wanted to… penetrate this Buxton group, and due to the fact that Fineman and I… you know we were classmates, we were school mates, it was easy for me to do that, understanding he would accept me as one.”
Simels then told the CS that he thought Rawlins was in fact from Buxton and not Agricola.
CS: No, from Agricola, [he was] from Agricola but um… I don’t know how he did it; he ended up becoming a supreme in Buxton. Now, not being a Buxtonian, it’s not something that normally would not have happened in years past; you know things change.”
He said Khan used him to go into Buxton because he was “neutral and unblemished….” Khan, he said, felt that Buxton was a troublesome area and unless it was brought under control Guyana would remain in chaos.
The CS was then asked by Simels how he knew Allison was favourable to Rawlins and the Buxton gang. Simels had claimed in court that Allison had secured arms and ammunition for Rawlins and his cohorts.
CS: “Um, information started to come in that Allison staying with these guys in Buxton and to some extent giving support as financial or logistic, whatever, he’s giving support, you know, somewhere along the line there.”
Simels: “You’re saying that it was… is this information you were getting?”
CS: Well it came from sources… Roger also got it from other sources, you know not just me. So you would hear that Donald Allison helping these people.”
Simels: “I mean Roger suggested to me that you knew that Allison was hiding weapons in a mining camp.”
CS: “Yeah because they had this thing whereby… they were importing, getting guns and so on imported from the US apparently in like fake bottoms for these crates and these kinds of things. And what we were told is that Allison was the person that would take possession of these guns when they got to Guyana.”
Simels: “Was that based upon information you developed, or Roger developed or both of you developed?”
CS: “Well as I said, because once I am working he has a lot of people out there you know that would bring information… You know it’s not just a case where it’s one source.”
Simels: “So when you would share this information with Roger, how would that come about?”
CS: “Well whatever I get, you know, I mean… you know we would meet sometimes on daily basis, you know that… this is what I gather, this is what developed and we moved from there.”
Simels then asked the CS how he came to know a policeman, who was a member of the black clothes squad, and he said after he began working for Khan he met some of the others who also worked for him. He also said he thought the officer was his cousin’s god brother.
The CS also said, on the prompting of Simels, that he later learnt that the officer was related to former army officer David Clarke, who is now in jail on drug charges and is expected to testify in Khan’s drug trial.
Simels then asked the CS what exactly he did for Khan and he said he did “…pretty much whatever I’m allowed to go,” including traversing between Buxton and Agricola and had meetings with criminals.
Simels: “Did you make take recordings of anybody?”
CS: “No, we could not have done that because that would have been very, very risky… you know it’s not easy going into areas where guys got AK-47s.”
The CS was asked again how he knew Allison was securing AK47s for the criminals and he said it was through the now dead Rawlins.
CS: “That was through Fineman, yea… one of the visits I paid to Fineman in Buxton. They wanted me… they were trying to solicit my help to get certain things done.”
Simels: “What did he want you to do?”
CS: “Well it’s basically to like check out to see if these things… you know because they were expecting a crate, and they wanted to know whether this crate got there. I think they wanted an ID made for the person who was going to clear the crate… but then along the line… apparently he got to distrust me and he pulled the plug on that.”
Simels: “He wanted you to get an ID?”
SC: “Yea, but then after like he started to get suspicious or something you know, he just cancelled that ID and got somebody else.”
Simels: “Did he tell you that Allison was going to get the weapons for them?”
CS: “From what, as I said, what we’ve learned from conversations with them is that whenever they get these things, things would go hide out in Agricola first, because you know Buxton is far away… even though it’s close it’s yet far. So they get these things to Agricola, and then from Agricola you’re getting them into Buxton, put them in cardboard and hightail it up to…”
Simels: “How did you know that Allison was the one hiding it in the mining camp?”
CS: “On one occasion I talked to him and he wanted us to go to a location in the interior. You see a lot of things went wrong with this whole thing. A lot of things…”
SC: “From what I’ve heard is that Fineman, Allison, this other guy David… it was like… they had their own separate groups. I mean it was common knowledge that he had a group, because he even mentioned it. In the night he admitted it. You know I had to fight crime, I got my group. But then you end up now with two opposing groups.”
Simels: “The David you’re talking about is David Clarke?”
CS: “Yes, you end up with two opposing groups you know…
Simels: “So you consider that bad because then it was just what, escalating the problem?”
CS: “Um… it depends on how you look at it, it depends on how you look at it because… I truly believe that what Roger was doing was good, he contributed here. We had policemen who were being killed, the whole place was scared. Police stations, they padlocked the gates at six in the evenings you know. If you’re calling, you’re being robbed and call into the police they tell you, oh we don’t have any [vehicles] or sometimes you hear wrong number. Somebody had to do the job, and where we started, we had to this day but…”
Simels: “So when you say to me, we came to know that David and Allison and Fineman had this group, I mean how would you hear this?”
CS: “Right, I have had a lot of sources out there, people that we pay to be on the lookout and got information and so on. Whatever they bring to me, I pass it on to Roger as it comes in.”
Simels: “Did you ever see Allison with Clarke and Fineman during that time?”
Simels: “So your sources are telling you that they had their own separate group like… whether it’s Roger or it’s… the other forces which was by [a former minister of government’s name]…”
CS: “These things as… I don’t know…. it just gets out of hand.”
Simels: “So when you are dealing with Roger, it was between basically 2005 and…”
CS: “And then he got arrested.”
‘Likes his beer’
The CS then told Simels that he had received some information from a source which stated that some weapons were at a location and Khan had planned to get a team together including some members of the force and stake out the location, but that never materialised because “I mean being Roger… that kind of slipped through.”
Simels: “What did you know, if anything, about Donald Allison dying?”
CS: “Well I knew he was killed.”
Simels: “Right, so he was killed outside of his gym?”
The CS acknowledged the information and Simels then asked whether a female relative of Allison was killed just before his death and the CS said there was no such killing.
Simels then told him he was giving the information by a well-known journalist and the CS suggested that the journalist had a little too much to drink.
Simels: “Okay, you know who told me that, [name of the journalist] told me that.”
CS: “I don’t know, maybe he had a shot too much (laughs) I think he had a shot too much… he drinks a lot…”
Simels: “He likes his beer.”
CS: “Exactly. So I think he had one too much.”
Simels: “So Allison gets killed. Do you speak to Roger after he gets killed?”
CS: “ Yeah, I spoke to Roger.”
Simels: Roger say I did it or…”
Simels: “Did he say to you, I took him out? Or was it somebody unknown who shot him or…”
CS: “I don’t know. That’s not a part I want to get into too much.”
Simels then asked the CS if he spoke to Rawlins after Allison’s death and he said he did and that Rawlins asked him to find out who killed Allison as he wanted to retaliate. However, he said, Rawlins later became suspicious and no longer wanted to deal with him.
Simels: “Between you and I, did you think you had information as to who killed him?”
CS: “Who Allison?”
CS: “I might have, but as I said…”
Simels: “It’s all speculative.”
CS: “That’s a dead issue… it’s like three years ago and…”
Simels then named a number of former police officers, some of whom were nabbed with Khan in Suriname, and asked the CS if he knew them and he said he did as they were “pretty much all of the guys that are around Roger.”
The lawyer also questioned the CS as to whether he actually saw Khan kill anybody or whether it was the police who did the actual killing.
CS: “No one actually knew…”
Simels: “… who did it.”
SC: “Because of everybody firing. It’d be hard to determine who might have fired the fatal shot.”
Simels: “So you were present when some people were killed?”
CS: “I don’t want to say I was present, but I might have been in the vicinity.”
The CS then suggested that after Allison’s death another man, who is also now dead, assisted Rawlins and his gang and Simels then said from what he heard there were always people supporting PPP and other PNC and he asked the CS if he supported any political party.
CS: “No. Politics is not something that I really follow because at the end of the day I still have to fend for myself.”
Simels: “So the question I guess would be, the natural question… you’re friendly with many of the people who are PNC supporters and part of this gang of criminals out of Buxton. What made you decide to help Roger and the government essentially?”
CS: “As I said, I believed, the cause, what Roger and these guys were doing, in terms of crime fighting efforts and, because somebody had to do it. The police were afraid to do it. Somebody gotta do it. Because it was coming to a point whereby no one was safe.”
Questioned by Simels the CS stated that he knew no one else in Guyana but Khan who was called ‘Shortman’ but he said that in Guyana if you are in a group and you are the shortest, persons may refer to you as ‘Shortman’ instead of calling your name. Simels then told him that at Khan’s trial he would have to testify that everyone in Guyana who is short is called ‘Shortman.’
Simels also told the CS that at the trial Khan was never to be described as a drug dealer but rather he should be described to the jury as somebody “who builds homes, somebody who’s got a truck, bus, whatever you want to call it, that feeds homeless children. That he’s in the timber business.”
The CS was also advised not describe Khan as “boss” in court.
Khan is on an 18-count indictment in the US and could face life in prison. His drug trial is set to commence in April.