The Police Complaints Authority (PCA) is investigating a senior officer who was allegedly recorded accepting money to thwart a police investigation.
According to documents obtained by Sunday Newsday, the PCA has been investigating the assistant superintendent who promised a Port of Spain casino owner that his matter of money laundering will be handled in his favour, for a price. The investigation is near completion, Sunday Newsday was informed.
The casino owner and another man were charged in January 2016 with money laundering. Since then, he allegedly paid the senior officer $59,000 and US$1,000. The monies were paid between May and December 2017 in the hopes that the senior officer would arrange with Financial Intelligence Bureau officers to have the matter dismissed due to a lack of evidence.
According to the case, the businessman recorded his interaction with the senior officer, both audio and visual, on at least four occasions. The documents stated that the businessman became tired of having to pay the officer and began recording him when his case was not being dismissed.
The businessman wrote a cheque for $1 million in December 2017 but the officer tore it up telling him that he could not cash the cheque as “that could not help him”, he could not deposit it. One of the video recordings of the alleged bribery is said to have been recorded at the Arouca Police Station where the officer worked. The other recordings were taken at Trincity Mall carpark.
Ten officers who worked closely with the senior officer, each gave statements that they knew the officer and they knew the businessman as well since he visited the station to sign as part of his bail conditions. They also confirmed the man seen and heard in the recordings was the senior officer.
Sunday Newsday was informed the matter has been “cautiously pursued” for the past three years because there was no paper trail. The senior officer, sources said, never accepted cheques and even with the video of him accepting cash, “wisdom is needed.”
The investigation is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
This is the second senior police officer under the PCA’s radar this year. The other is ACP Irwin Hackshaw who was under the PCA’s microscope for alleged criminal misconduct after he supposedly collected more than $2 million from a group of businesspeople while on vacation.
In September, he was suspended in accordance with the PCA’s recommendation in relation to a criminal probe. In March, the PCA launched two separate investigations into Hackshaw who was acting as a deputy commissioner of police.
One investigation focused on Hackshaw working as a security consultant, since 2014, for a number of businesses without the approval of acting police commissioners Stephen Williams and Harold Phillip. This led to internal disciplinary action against him.
Last Tuesday, acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Anthony James promised the internal probe will be done before November 30 when Hackshaw is due to retire.