Call to probe security agency
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) National Security Ministers have ordered a “comprehensive audit” of the Trinidad-based Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) after a newspaper here published what it said were acts of misappropriation of funds and other fraudulent accounting practices at the regional institution.
A Statement issued by the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat after the meeting of the Bureau of the CARICOM Ministerial Council for Security and Law Enforcement (CONSLE) on Friday, said it has decided that a comprehensive audit should be carried out on IMPACS.
“This audit will be undertaken by an independent audit firm in the region and will be preceded by a preliminary investigation in the next week by the Director of Internal Audit of the CARICOM Secretariat.”
The Bureau, presided over by CONSLE Chairman Dr Errol Cort of Antigua and Barbuda, met via video conference to discuss the allegations.
IMPACS has already said that it is considering its legal options after the Trinidad Express newspaper ran a front page story earlier this month quoting “reliable sources” alleging the incidents of misappropriation of funds.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has already said she intends bringing the allegations to the attention of regional leaders.
“Should the allegations be true, it is indeed cause for grave concern,” said Persad-Bissessar, who has responsibility for security within the quasi CARICOM cabinet.
But in its two page statement, IMPACS said that since its inception in 2006, it has ‘ and continues to adhere to the management and operational procedures as approved by CONSOLE (the Council for National Security and Law Enforcement) and set out in the agreement establishing the CARICOM Implementation for Crime and Security 2006.
The CARICOM Statement said that “the Bureau of CONSLE will be meeting again shortly to determine what further action should be taken based on the results of the preliminary investigation.
“The Bureau will continue to ensure that the Caribbean Community’s security agenda, which is implemented by IMPACS as well as other agencies and institutions within the security architecture of the Community, is in no way compromised,” the statement said.
IMPACS together with its sub agencies, the Regional Intelligence Fusion Centre (RIFC) and Joint Regional Communications Centre (JRCC) are specifically geared towards strategic research, programme and project implementation, evaluation, analysis and mobilization of resources to support the collective fight against serious crime and to counter other security threats in the region. (CMC)