Police Commissioner Gary Griffith says an investigation has begun, to determine why over $20 million in cash was returned to a La Horquetta money lender, who also is involved in what is being described as a “pyramid scheme”.
Commissioner Griffith says while there are no laws governing such schemes in Trinidad and Tobago, citizens should understand that they are receiving money based on the fact that some people will lose theirs.
The police commissioner says the money which was seized on Tuesday by police, but returned on Wednesday, must be properly accounted for.
He admits proper procedure was not followed, and he has no intention of turning a blind eye on the matter.
“They should not have [given back the money]. It was an error made, and whether it was based on incompetence or being part and parcel of this activity, I am dealing with this personally,” the top cop asserts.
“We found out that investigators appointed were part of the sou sou,” he points out.
The Police Commissioner says he will be working closely with the Police Complaints Authority, as well as the Director of Public Prosecutions, to get to the bottom of things.
“This is a very serious situation—$22 million in cash in the roof and in boxes all over the place. We didn’t even check to see how much of it was counterfeit,” he notes.
He adds: “You don’t just give back money like that to people. You need to verify the receipts, and whether it is authentic [cash]. That could never be done in an hour. Serious questionable activity has taken place here.”
Commissioner Griffith states the divisional police officers should have handed over the case to the TTPS’ Financial Investigations Branch (FIB), and the money should never have been returned to the individual on whom the raid was executed.