Police Commissioner Henry Greene last evening confirmed that Assistant Commissioner Steve Merai has reached the age of retirement but said he has been asked to stay on the job until after elections.
In the meantime the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is yet to release its findings into the stunning allegations made by Merai several weeks ago that members of the Guyana Force’s hierarchy have ties to members of the drug trade.
Speaking to reporters following the conclusion of the Drill competition, Greene said that there has been no new development in the probe. “There has been no new information sofar and we are still awaiting the findings of the report from the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Criminal Investigation Department Headquarters”, he said explaining that the CID is dealing specifically with the drug allegations that were made.
Asked by Stabroek News if Merai who is the current commander of `B’ Division (Berbice) has reached the age of retirement, Greene in response said “Merai along with some other officers have reached the point where they are suppose to proceed on retirement leave but we did ask them to stay on until after elections. He is one of those persons we have asked and this is before these allegations were made.
He said he would not pronounce on if the Assistant Commissioner would be asked to leave office once elections have passed. “We have asked them to stay on until December”, he stressed.
Greene in responding to more questions said that investigations into similar allegations against Merai were done and public responses to them were given. “If you recall Merai’s matter (allegedly extorting money from a drug dealer) was investigated and the gentleman who was involved had declined to give any statement, declined to be part of the investigation. That was the person against whom the allegation was made on the tape…”
Greene brushed off questions about the suddenness of Merai’s allegations and whether he could be described as a good officer.
“I wouldn’t comment on that. Let the investigation have its way”, he stressed.
Meanwhile the Commission-er said that the vehicle of one of the persons fingered by Merai as being linked to drug dealers was not taken away as part of the investigation. He said that the rank’s wife had taken a loan from the bank where she works and this was used to purchase the vehicle. He said that the vehicle was returned to the ranks after investigators were satisfied with the documents that were produced.
The allegations were made public in the Kaieteur News last month. The police in its first response to the issue had said that based on the allegations made and investigations carried out, a Junior Officer who was alleged to have been driving a Fortuna motor vehicle, owned by a female that Merai claimed to be a drug dealer, was contacted. The Junior Officer, who had been assigned to the Office of the Police Commissioner, stated that his vehicle was down and he had borrowed the vehicle from a female with whom he had an intimate relationship, police said. He added that he was not aware that his female companion was a drug dealer. According to police, the Junior Officer was transferred and subsequently tendered his resignation. Investigations into his associates were ongoing up to last week.
Police also confirmed that a Senior Officer had borrowed a car from a businessman about two weeks before the allegation. “The Officer in question publicly stated that his motor car had developed mechanical problems and he had borrowed a BMW motor car from the businessman whose family he knew well and that he has no knowledge that the businessman is or was a drug dealer,” police said. The Senior Officer later returned the vehicle to the businessman.
According to police, Merai also alleged that three ranks attached to the Tactical Services Unit were providing protection to drug blocks and that they owned several cars. One of the ranks, a Corporal, was contacted and at CID Headquarters he produced documents showing that his wife works at a local commercial bank and had taken a loan from the bank to buy the car he was using.
“It was not established that any vehicles were owned by the other ranks, however, other investigations are ongoing into the allegations of their associations even though specifics have not been provided,” police noted.