Cops probing link between bandits, staff

Stabroek News
February 20, 2000

The investigation by the police into the $13 million robbery at the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), Brickdam, is focusing on uncovering the link between the robbers and a member or members of the NIS staff.

The NIS robbery was one of the more than 14 robberies, for which police said Linden London was wanted dead or alive by the police and army. London called 'Blackie' was killed last week after a confrontation with security forces.

Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr Roger Luncheon, told reporters at his fortnightly press briefing yesterday at the GTV studios, Homestretch Avenue, that the effort of "the Criminal Investigations Department of the Guyana Police Force is directed at discovering the liaison between the gang that perpetrated that robbery and those employees of scheme who are suspected to have been accomplices of the gang."

He explained that "there seems to be [a] well founded belief that the crime was aided and abetted by persons unknown within the employ of the National Insurance Scheme."

A NIS staff member was among persons questioned by the police about the robbery. The staff member had been detained but was subsequently released on bail after her relatives moved to the court for a writ of habeas corpus to directed to the police.

Dr Luncheon, who is also chairman of the NIS Board of Directors, said that he would have to determine the accuracy of the comment that it was unusual for $10 million to be collected from the bank when $3 million was already on hand to meet payments to the NIS beneficiaries.

But he said that "it is my information that large sums of money are usually kept at the scheme to provide for the payment of pensioners on the duly appointed date arrives.

"Whether $3 million or the alleged $13 million represents the customary large sums of money, I would have to enquire."