Inquiry into Dataram allegations against CANU completed

The inquiry into claims by self-confessed drug trafficker Barry Dataram, who accused officials of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) of corruption and facilitating the drug trade, has been completed and a report was yesterday handed over to government.

A press release from the Ministry of Presidency said that Brigadier Bruce Lovell, who was appointed by President David Granger to conduct the probe, presented the report to Minister of State Joseph Harmon.

Brigadier Lovell, according to the release, said that the allegations made by Dataram against officials of the state are of a very serious nature and, therefore, it was incumbent on the government to carry out an investigation, which he completed in the period of two months.

“I am positive that the government will find favour with the recommendations as well as the conclusions and take the appropriate actions,” he was quoted as saying.

Barry Dataram
Barry Dataram

Harmon, according to the release, said that quite a number of statements were taken by persons who had information regarding the allegations.

“It is important for us to have these inquiries done. The opposition and several other persons keep saying we are having inquiry after inquiry, but this is the way that we will determine what the facts of a situation are. That is what we do; we get to the bottom of things, we get the facts and then we deliberate on it and the actions taken subsequently are actions, which are to be taken by the state,” he said.

According to the release, the report will be presented to President David Granger and a copy will be handed over to Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan.

Dataram, during an interview with HGPTV Channel 67’s Nightly News that was aired on February 29, accused a high ranking CANU official of being involved in the drug trade and added that the rank would take as much as $10 million to allow cocaine to leave the country.

He also said that drug lords would pay $5 million before the shipment and the remainder afterward.

Dataram also alleged that the majority of the drugs seized by CANU returns to the streets. He said that he knew of this because of his involvement and his friends’ involvement in the trade.

 Minister of State Joseph Harmon receiving the report from Brigadier (Rtd) Bruce Lovell at the Ministry of the Presidency (Ministry of the Presidency photo)
Minister of State Joseph Harmon receiving the report from Brigadier (Rtd) Bruce Lovell at the Ministry of the Presidency (Ministry of the Presidency photo)

“I know what is going on in the streets… I know what is going on in CANU… them is the enemies and they have to know that just like how they got things on me, I get things on them,” he said.

Dataram admitted that he is involved in the drug trade but said he has never been convicted on a criminal charge.

CANU’s head James Singh subsequently denied the allegations and called on Dataram to provide sworn statements for past and ongoing investigations.

Singh, in a press release in response to the allegations, suggested a link between Dataram’s allegations and what it considered to be his “unease” over the commencement of his trial for the alleged possession of a large quantity of cocaine that was found concealed in shrimp at his Diamond house.

Dataram, his wife and two friends, who were held during a raid of the Diamond Housing Scheme property, are charged with possession of 284 pounds of cocaine for trafficking.

It was members of the National Security Commit-tee (NSC) who made the decision to set up the inquiry.

Ramjattan has publically said that he does not believe the claims.

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