NO EVIDENCE TO POINT TO COVER UP ATTEMPT IN RICARDO FAGUNDES MURDER CASE- RSS

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Please see press release:

The Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana (GCRG) via the Office of the Minister of Home Affairs made an official request for investigative services to the Regional Security System (RSS), Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). As a result, the RSS facilitated the request and a former Detective Chief Inspector of the Metropolitan Police Service, Serious and Organised Crime Command (United Kingdom) was deployed to provide assistance.

The main objectives of the report were as follows:

• To determine whether the GPF has effectively investigated the unlawful killing/ homicide of Ricardo Fagundes.

• 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.

• To review the investigation of the Fagundes case by the GPF and any actions taken by the investigating officers.

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.

An example of this is the fact that, the close associate said that Fagundes was driving the vehicle on arrival at the location of the incident. However, CCTV records show that the said associate was the one driving. CCTV also show that his description of the movement of the vehicle, whilst in the area, was also inaccurate and he neglected to tell officers about the third person who arrived at the club with them in the vehicle.

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.

The RSS also recommended support to the Guyana Forensic Science Laboratory from a Regional laboratory to assist in analyzing some samples of interest related to the investigations.

Investigations, both nationally and internationally are actively ongoing to bring this matter to finality.

-END-

Ministry of Home Affairs
September 9, 2022

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