The criminal probe against an officer who has acted as commissioner of police is far from over.
Additional information obtained in a separate investigation by the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) has raised further questions over substantial financial donations which ended up in the personal accounts of ACP Irwin Hackshaw.
Sunday Newsday has been reliably informed that investigators with the PCA have gathered more information than a team of police who were assigned to investigate allegations of wrongdoing against Hackshaw. The PCA launched its own investigation in early March.
Hackshaw, who had been appointed by the Police Service Commission (PSC) to act as one of the three deputy commissioners of police, has since reverted to his substantive post of Assistant Commissioner of Police, according to top-level police sources.
On May 28, acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Jayson Forde announced that the police investigation against Hackshaw had been closed. Three binders were displayed to the media to support the extensive work the police had done in the investigation.
The police probe began in November 2019 under then head of the Professional Standards Bureau acting ACP Totaram Dookhie and was subsequently handed over to ACP Winston Nurse.
However, PCA investigators have unearthed more details of financial transactions spanning over six years. The police investigation only focused on some of the donations, according to sources familiar with the completed police file.
Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard, SC, confirmed to Sunday Newsday on Friday that police investigators never consulted him during the course of their investigation into Hackshaw. Nor has he had sight of the investigators’ completed file.
The decision by police investigators not to consult the DPP’s office in such a high-profile case has been described by legal sources as highly irregular. Almost all cases of misconduct involving police officers, even minor infractions of the law, are usually referred for legal advice and also to negate any perception of collusion or cover-up.
The PCA’s probe, according to reliable sources, will be far wider and deeper than what was submitted by the police. Sources said the probe is far advanced and will involve deep financial analysis of transactions across 15 separate accounts.
It was on the basis of an Express newspaper report in March that the PCA launched its own independent parallel investigation.
It is now corroborating information as it investigates whether the funds donated were in fact used to offset costs related to police events such as the Police Can Cook fundraiser.
After the Express report appeared in mid-March, police searched the newspaper’s office in Port of Spain as they probed the leaking of confidential information on an active investigation to a journalist. Both National Security Minister Stuart Young and Police Commissioner Gary Griffith, who was then out of the country, said they were unaware of the raid. The PSC had appointed Hackshaw to act as CoP in Griffith’s absence. Young said after he made enquiries, Hackshaw had not ordered the police raid.
Griffith had ordered an investigation into allegations against Hackshaw when they first surfaced in November 2019 when a senior officer, now retired, referred information to the Financial Intelligence Unit about substantial sums of money coming from several business people being deposited in several of the officer’s personal accounts with banks and other financial institutions.
On May 28, Griffith said if new information is unearthed, the case against Hackshaw will be reopened.
He said then that on the basis of the police investigation, Hackshaw had not contravened any police service regulation, nor was he criminally culpable of any offence in relation to the donations.
Sunday Newsday was reliably informed that the deposits being investigated date back to 2014 and in some instances were made on a monthly basis, according to documents under review.
The finding of the police investigation, which was led by ACP Nurse, was that the money, which amounted to millions of dollars, represented donations by business people to help fund police events, and for private security consultancy work done by Hackshaw.
Nurse’s report also noted that even though Hackshaw did not have permission from former acting CoPs Stephen Williams or Harold Phillip to do any private work, the investigation concluded that the officer had received permission in August 2018 from Griffith, who had assumed the office of the top cop by then.