Police probing allegation of $1.9M stop-and-search theft

The Guyana Police Force yesterday said that its Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is investigating claims made by a lorry driver that while submitting himself to checks by two police traffic ranks, two other ranks in plain clothes entered his vehicle and robbed him.

In a statement, the Police said Mohamed Ishmael Latif reported at the Cove and John Police Station that at about 3.30pm on Monday, September 8 he was driving motor lorry GJJ 4169 on his way back to Berbice after selling cooking oil to business entities when he was stopped by two traffic ranks outside the Sparendaam Police Station.

Latif’s claims were published in the Guyana Chronicle’s September 9 edition under the caption “Porter, driver lose millions during Sparendaam police stop and search.”

The police statement said that Latif who works with his brother who owns the business, was travelling with four male porters; two in the cab of the vehicle and two others in the enclosed tray. The man has alleged that while the two traffic policemen checked his documents, two other policemen who were dressed in civilian clothing entered the vehicle and stole the sum of $1,985,000 which he had placed in the cab of the vehicle in a pocket between the driver and passenger seats.

“Initial investigations have so far not unearthed any evidence to substantiate [Latif’s] claim,” police said. However, the OPR is investigating the complaint.

The police said that based on their investigation it was stated that Latif was outside of the vehicle having his documents checked by traffic ranks when a man in civilian clothing who claimed to be a policeman ordered the two porters who were in the cab to go to the station. While on their way to the station, one of the porters who was in the tray said he saw another man in civilian clothing exit a motor car that was parked in front of the lorry go into the cab of the lorry, take out the money, go back into the car and drive off.

The porter did not raise an alarm on seeing this, nor did he make these claims until a report was later made at the Cove and John station even though the money was found to be missing earlier, the police said. Further, police said, so far descriptions of the two men in civilian clothing do not fit any of the police ranks attached to the Sparendaam station.


The Police added that they have recovered $141,000 in the same pocket where the stolen money was reportedly kept.