ASSISTANT Commissioner of Police Irwin Hackshaw, who was being investigated by then head of the Professional Standards Bureau, Assistant Commissioner Totaram Dookhie, has been removed as lead investigator into three disciplinary allegations levelled against Dookhie.
On July 8, attorney Kumar Ramsaran of the police legal unit told Dookhie’s attorneys that Deputy Commissioner of Police McDonald Jacob was appointed to replace Hackshaw as the new investigating officer.
On June 29, Dookhie was instructed by Hackshaw to report to Camp Cumuto – where the regiment has a base. The police Special Evidence Recovery Unit and the Special Operations Response Team, which reports directly to Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith, are both based there.
Dookhie was given notice that he was on “special assignment” and was to work as ACP Manpower Audit Unit, at Camp Cumuto with immediate effect.
Dookhie and other PSB officers were investigating allegations by Cocorite resident Cecil “Squeeze” Skeete that Griffith assaulted him at the Four Roads Police Station. In an affidavit, Skeete later recanted his story, but subsequently reported that he was forced to do so. He was murdered outside his Cocorite home on December 29.
Dookhie was subsequently presented with an undated notice from Hackshaw outline complaints against him and requesting a personal explanation.
According to the document, Hackshaw also informed Dookhie that he (Hackshaw) was appointed investigator by Commissioner Griffith to probe allegations levelled against Dookhie and who could submit in writing, an explanation concerning these allegations within seven days of the notice. According to the notice, Dookhie is accused of:
i. Misleading the Police Commissioner by saying he was not investigating financial impropriety by an Assistant Commissioner of Police relative to firearms;
ii. Wilfully or negligently misleadingd the Commissioner by stating that Supt Samaroo was investigating the affidavit of Skeete and the allegation of conspiracy to bring down the sitting commissioner and;
iii. Flagrantly disregarding instructions by the Deputy Commissioner of Police to go on six months’ vacation leave and preparing a report highlighting why be believed the instruction shouldn’t be followed.
Dookhie was sent on leave earlier this year after Commissioner Gary Griffith alleged that “elements” in the police and other people, including a journalist, were conspiring to get him out of office.
Dookhie’s attorneys sent a letter to the police service outlining their objections to Hackshaw’s appointment as investigating officer.
Part of the letter stated, “undeniably, there is sufficient reason to cast doubt on the ability of Mr Hackshaw to conduct an impartial investigation. Thus, you would no doubt agree that Mr Hackshaw being intimately involved in the facts of the investigation and further making public statements in relation to that matter would necessarily vitiate any degree of impartiality or, at the very least cast doubt on his impartiality.
“Respectfully, his appointment may even be construed as an act of bad faith if left undisturbed. In the circumstances, we therefore call for the immediate revocation of the appointment of Mr Hackshaw as the investigating officer.”
Dookhie is expected to respond to the allegations in writing. He could not be contacted for comment on Tuesday. On July 1, Dookhie was arrested at his Tableland home and questioned in relation to two criminal offences. It is alleged he pointed his firearm at a man in 2017, and kidnapped another man in 2018, during an interview at the PSB’s San Fernando office.
Dookhie was the main investigator against former government minister Marlene McDonald who, along with her husband and two others, was charged with corruption offences. While on leave Dookhie was reportedly ordered by a senior officer to leave the PSB office, on Henry Street, when he turned up to finalise the police file in the McDonald matter. Dookhie was also leading investigations into another financial matter against a sitting government minister and several other high-profile matters.
(See Page 8A)