Cop under OPR investigation calls for witness protection

The content originally appeared on: INews Guyana

…writes President Ali

Sergeant Dion Bascom, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) investigator being investigated by the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) for his utterances on the investigation into the murder of Ricardo “Paper shorts” Fagundes, is now calling for witness protection.

Bascom has since retained Nigel Hughes as his attorney. Through Hughes, he has not only written President Dr Irfaan Ali calling for witness protection but has also written the law firm representing the three men he had claimed as complicit in Fagundes murder.

In his letter to President Ali, Bascom claimed he fears for his life in the wake of his allegations.

He went on to add that even though he was directed to arrest a person of interest in the case, he claimed that the person had advanced warning and subsequently called to threaten him.

“After the public disclosures made by our client, he has received threats on his life and is extremely fearful…the aforementioned incidents are matters which may prejudice the national security of the state given the seniority of the Police officers who are involved, their relationship with one of the principal persons of interest in the investigation, the proximity of the incident to the President’s residence and the notoriety of the parties who are involved.”

“We are instructed to request, as we hereby do, that pursuant to the powers vested in you by virtue of Section 9(2) of the Protected Disclosures Act 2018 that you establish an independent investigation peopled by regional or international Police officers into the allegations of our client and the murder of Ricardo Fegundes.”

In addition, Bascom requested that witness protection be provided to him, since he fears his life is in danger. He cited Section 20 of the Protected Disclosures Act 2018 and asserted that he is ready to stand by his previous statements and to testify to them under oath.

Libel suits

Meanwhile, Bascom had Hughes dispatch a letter to Poonai and Poonai, the law firm representing Police Superintendent Mitchell Caesar, businessman Azruddin Mohamed and his employee Mark Richmond.

Bascom had accused them of being involved in Fagundes’s murder and they have all threatened to sue him for a combined total of $175 million for defamation, if he does not apologise and retract his statements. In his letter to the law firm, Bascom refused to do so.

“We are instructed to inform you as we hereby do, that our client rejects the demands contained in several letters and has instructed to inform you that the contents of the broadcast are true in substance and in fact,” Bascom said.

In his letter, Bascom said that it is a matter of record that threats were made against his life and that he acted on the advice of his superior in making a report of that threat to the Brickdam Police Station.

“The contents of a murder investigation conducted by the Guyana Police Force do not facilitate in this forum further disclosures which provide justification for our client’s statements. We are finally instructed to inform you, as we hereby do, that should your clients contemplate the commencement of any of the proceedings contained in your letter, they will be stoutly defended,” Bascom further said in his letter.

Last week, Bascom was among five people who were arrested when Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) raided a Norton Street, Georgetown house. Reports are that CANU officers conducted an operation at a Norton Street residence, where a known drug trafficker resides.

A subsequent search of the premises led to the discovery of four parcels containing suspected cocaine. The known drug trafficker along with the cop and three persons were arrested at the premises.

Following this incident, Bascom had posted his Facebook live video in which he made several allegations against the Police Force. Subsequently, OPR had said it has been instructed to commence an investigation.

Distances self

Mohamed’s Enterprise on Saturday stated that the allegations made by Bascom are very distressing and are aimed at tarnishing the company’s reputation.

“For this, we wish to place on the public record the following: Mohamed’s Enterprise was never subjected to any investigation related to the crime Mr Bascom referred to. We have no record that Mr Bascom ever visited our main office. We have no record that Mr Bascom or any other rank approached our office to arrest any employee or to conduct any investigation.”

The release further stated that Mohamed’s Enterprise stands ready to assist the Police with any investigation since the Guyana Police Force has always received its respect and support and more so, the company believes in the rule of law and justice.

Ricardo “Paper Shorts” Fagundes was killed execution-style in March 2021 outside a popular Main Street, Georgetown night spot. Reports are the man was partying with a group of friends at the bar when his phone rang and he exite