Police Commissioner Gary Griffith says at least three senior officers from the La Horquetta Police Station were involved in the return of over $22 million to the Drugs Sou Sou (DSS) pyramid scheme.
In an interview with CNC3’s the Morning Brew yesterday, Griffith said he is closely monitoring the investigation by both the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP.)
“We found out that investigators appointed were part of the sou sou. I am monitoring this carefully, I am going to liaise closely with the PCA and the DPP on this matter,” Griffith said.
“I could have turned a blind eye, nobody would have known and everybody would have been happy but that is not how I have been cut.
This is a serious situation, $22 million in cash, in the roof, in boxes, in all kinds of place. We didn’t even check, suppose half of it is counterfeit? You don’t just give back money like that to people.”
The saga of the DSS seizure began on Tuesday, when officers of the Financial Intelligence Bureau (FIB) and the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) shut down the home of a La Horquetta money lender, arrested nine people and seized boxes and garbage bags filled with cash.
The money and the nine people were taken to the La Horquetta Police Station on Tuesday evening. But in the early hours of Wednesday morning, all nine people, including a soldier, were released without charge and the $22,157,000 in cash was returned to them.
Griffith was caught unaware, as he was heard on a local radio station hours after the suspects were released and money returned saying the seized cash was still being counted.
By noon on Wednesday, the TTPS issued a release saying that Griffith, his Deputy Commissioners and the FIB were unaware the money had been released and none of them had authorised it.
At 2 pm on Wednesday, SORT and FIB officers were back at the money lender’s La Horquetta home. Although they blocked off the roadway and entered the man’s property, no further search or seizure was done.
After an hour and a half, the heavily armed contingency packed up and left the area.
There were reports yesterday that police had again returned to the man’s home.
Guardian Media had met the man shortly before police arrived again on Wednesday but he declined to comment.
He has retained a team of lawyers, led by senior counsel Sophia Chote to represent him.
Speaking yesterday on the Morning Brew, Griffith said there are multiple arms of law enforcement involved in the DSS operation. He described it as a major cover-up.
Griffith said there is a possibility that the money can be seized again, as he said there has been no verification of the source of the $22 million.
“But at this time, because of what was done, it will be difficult for us to find that individual and find that $22 million this time around,” he said.