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The Ministry of Home Affairs is advising the public the investigative services of the Regional Security System (RSS) in the person of former Detective Chief Inspector of the Metropolitan Police Service, Serious and Organised Crime Command (United Kingdom), has concluded there has been no evidence of corrupt practice or any attempt to cover up Ricardo Fagundes aka Paper Short murder case.
Fagundes was killed in a hail of bullets in front of Palm Court nightclub, Georgetown on March 21, 2021. Detective Sergeant Dion Bascom, in a damning recording on social media, accused senior members of the Force of being corrupt and implicated Superintendent Mitchell Caesar in a cover up with a city businessman, Nazruddin Mohamed, in the killing. Both have denied the allegations and the businessman has since filed a $200 million defamation lawsuit against Bascom.
The Force has also distanced themselves from Bascom’s allegations about police conduct and accused him of being malicious. And Bascom who has made the allegation would be considered critical to the investigation. He was not interviewed by the RSS.
In a statement shared by the sergeant, who is still without state protection, he asked “How can the RSS say that the bribery allegations is hear-say without interviewing me to find out where I get that information from and whether the person that told me had proof of same?” Refer to “Sergeant Dion Bascom’s response to Regional Security System (RSS) Report” story in this newspaper for the entire statement.
If, according to the government, the RSS was deployed to provide assistance:
“To determine whether the Guyana Police Force (GPF) has effectively investigated the unlawful killing/ homicide of Ricardo Fagundes [and] To determine whether there is any evidence to support any wrongdoing by D/ Supt. Mitchell Caesar and Insp. Nigel Stephens of the GPF as alleged by Sergeant Dion Bascom,” not interviewing the person at the centre of these allegations raise more questions than answers about the investigation.
Detective Sergeant Dion Bascom
However, the Ministry reported that “As a result, the following key findings of the RSS review revealed that:
“A. The bribery allegations made by Sergeant Bascom against the GPF, namely, that Detective Supt. Caesar and Inspector Stephens in an attempt to cover up the unlawful killing/ homicide of Fagundes were hearsay having no provenance.
“B. Sgt. Bascom was arrested at a location where illegal drugs were found during a Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit operation. He consequently made two live streams where he made further allegations and personal demands. The timing of these revelations causes one to question the veracity of his allegations. It was noted that his decision to make these live streams was in contravention of Section 19 (5) (a) of the Cyber Crime Act No. 16 of 2018 of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana where he used a computer system to transmit electronic data with intent to humiliate, harass or cause distress to D/ Supt. Mitchell Roach, D. Supt. Chabinauth Singh and Detective Sgt. Kester Cosbert and others.
“C. This veracity of the allegations was further undermined by the fact that Sgt. Bascom was found to be living rent- free in a furnished property in the area of Essequibo belonging to an Essequibo businessman and gold trader.
“D. It has further been found that Sgt. Bascom was also working as a personal security officer for the said Essequibo businessman. It is noted that Sgt. Bascom’s private employment as a security officer for the businessman was in direct contravention of Section 32 of the Police Act CAP 16:01 which prohibits members of the GPF from engaging in Trade or Business without the consent of the Commissioner of Police (COP). Further, Section 31 (1) prohibits the rank from holding any other office or employment for hire or gain.
“E. Sgt. Bascom has denied leaking information to the media as it relates to the ongoing investigations. However, there is evidence that he did contact the Press and this was confirmed to the police.
“F. Sgt. Bascom has alleged that the GPF has tried to cover-up the unlawful killing/ homicide of Fagundes. However, there is evidence that the GPF has diligently sought Regional and International assistance in solving this case.
“G. A close associate of Ricardo Fagundes, who was in his company just prior to his death, gave investigative officers inaccurate statements relating to the events on the night of the incident. The evidence obtained by the investigators revealed these inconsistencies.
“H. Sgt. Bascom alleged that there was a device in the possession of the police which identified Mark Richmond’s cell phone as being at the scene of the unlawful killing/ homicide of Fagundes when it happened. However, the GPF’s technical officer ASP Rodwell Sarrabo has confirmed that the Police Force does not have any such technology and that Sgt. Bascom was never at the crime scene with him.
“It is the opinion of the reviewing officer that the Guyana Police Force has done extensive work into the unlawful killing/ homicide investigation. There is no evidence to suggest that there was any attempt to cover- up this case and there is also no evidence of corrupt practices as alleged by Sgt. Bascom.”