MONTHS of investigations culminated on Sunday evening in Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard, SC, ordering criminal charges against four men including three police officers for their role in a police vehicle larceny and extra duty racket.
A TTPS release on Monday stated that Insp Dean Antoine, 53, PC Videsh Oudit, 32, PC Vishal Heeralal, 28, and civilian Shane Veesh Heeralal, 28, were charged by investigators from the Professional Standards Bureau (PSB).
Newsday reported back in June that an investigation was opened after the chance discovery of a civilian who was found driving a marked police vehicle which at the time was escorting a fleet of heavy machinery.
Investigations centred around the unlawful taking of marked police vehicles (both decommissioned and in active use) for private use to escort vehicles in exchange for monetary compensation.
Newsday reported in June that a squad car was removed from the Cumuto scrapyard and it was intercepted on June 24. This led to an audit of the TTPS' fleet and vehicles known to be missing.
Part of the investigation also focused on a possible link, unearthed by national security intelligence agencies, between these police vehicles and criminal elements who plotted a jailbreak scheme to free a prisoner awaiting trial for a high-profile murder.
The press release stated that Insp Antoine is on pre-retirement leave, while PCs Oudit and Heeralal were last assigned to Guapo police station and the Penal CID, respectively.
Antoine was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the government, Oudit was charged with two counts of conspiracy to defraud the government and ten counts of misbehaviour in public office.
PC Heeralal was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the government and one count of possession of a stolen police vehicle, while Shane Heeralal was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the government and one count of possession of a stolen police vehicle.
Police said the investigations with respect to the four men who were charged on Sunday, centred around allegations that police escort duties were organised for companies with trailer trucks.
Investigations, led by Supt Suzette Martin of the PSB, showed that cash from these transactions were not deposited to the relevant police stations.
Contacted for comment on Monday, Acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob said the arrests were part of an ongoing investigation into incidents earlier this year where marked police vehicles were being used to escort vehicles of private companies.
"It's a continuation of that investigation and more people may be charged depending on the findings of the investigation.
"I wish to emphasise that this is a team effort with assistance and collaboration from different departments of the police service," Ag CoP Jacob said.
He said the establishment last year of the Criminal Intelligence Bureau – which comprises people with forensic and cyber investigative expertise, shows just how serious the executive of the TTPS is in rooting out corruption within the service.
"Commissioner of Police Mr Griffith introduced a new system moving away from the manual system of payment for extra duty. This new system sees payments being made directly to the bank in a particular account. This was the first system implemented to cut down on or reduce the opportunity for corruption in relation to extra duties carried out by police," Jacob said.
He said police officers and some members of the business community and the public came up with a unique system aimed at counteracting the direct payment system implemented by Griffith.
"We have now uncovered a syndicate which was developed within the last two years or so and our investigations which have been ongoing a while now, is starting to bear fruit and we are now seeing the outcome of these investigations." Jacob said the bureau operates in tandem with other departments and units within the TTPS.
The four men were set to appear virtually before a magistrate on Monday afternoon to answer the charges.