COP Miller  questions having to pay back scammed money
June 14, 2013

COP Miller questions having to pay back scammed money

Commissioner of Police Keith Miller would like to know whom does he owe, in the matter in which he was a victim of an Internet scam last year.{{more}}

Miller, who was a guest on the Building Blocks programme on Star Radio on Wednesday evening, was responding to a caller who asked him if he had repaid money sent by Western Union Money Transfer to crooks in Senegal in October 2012.

“That I sent to Western Union?

“What evidence do you have that the Commissioner of Police sent money to Western Union?” Miller asked.

“It was in the newspaper, sir,” responded the caller.

“Newspaper, my…! That is nonsense, you telling me about newspaper. What you read in the newspaper, is everything you read in the newspaper? This is why I did not respond to this before, because people have a tendency, they love to talk things they do not know,” Miller said.

On November 9, 2012, SEARCHLIGHT reported, based on official documents obtained by us, that during October 2012, Sergeant Junior Simmons of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF) sent EC$9,439.12 by Western Union Money Transfer to persons in the West African nation of Senegal.

The RSVGPF officials sent the money, thinking they were paying for accommodation, insurance and visas for the Commissioner, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Ruth Jacobs and Simmons, to attend a conference on Human Trafficking in Senegal.

In that same edition, Miller confirmed to SEARCHLIGHT that he was the victim of an Internet scam and said that the matter was under investigation.

“We have reported to the relevant authority and I spoke with the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) in Washington who told me yes, it is and they are investigating it,” he told SEARCHLIGHT.

“I was suspicious, that is why I mounted an investigation… I informed the US Embassy, who immediately dispatched communication to the FBI, … within an hour, they called me back and told me they did investigations and what it is. It is because of our suspicion … we halted the communication and informed the relevant people,” Miller said in an interview on November 7, 2012.

He admitted he was “tricked to a certain extent,” but added, “you have to be smart to pick up the little twists.

“No, I did not pick up the first and second time, but maybe on the second or third occasion,” he said.

However, on Wednesday evening’s radio programme, Miller seemed not to remember that he had admitted to being scammed.

“I admitted that I was scammed?” he asked the caller.

He also told the male caller that he was giving him authority to write to any government institution to find out who he owes.

“You have my permission,” he told the caller.

In an interview on November 12, 2012, Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dr Ralph Gonsalves told SEARCHLIGHT that Miller had accepted full responsibility for and will repay the Government the $9,904.12 lost to crooks in West Africa as a result of the scam.

“I called the Commissioner. I asked him about this matter; he acknowledged right away that he is responsible, said straight off that he will make good the loss,” the Prime Minister said.

“I am not sure how he will pay it, whether one-off or in instalments, but that is a matter between him and the Accounting Officer, who is Mr [Godfred] Pompey, the Permanent Secretary,” Gonsalves added.

Cabinet memos dated October 9, 2012 and October 19, 2012, obtained by SEARCHLIGHT, say that Cabinet approved the attendance of the three police officers at the conference, and two sets of funds — $5,134.94 and $1,126.58, for accommodation, subsistence and insurance, respectively.

A source however subsequently told SEARCHLIGHT that the money actually sent to Senegal by Western Union Money Transfer may have come from a credit union and not from the Government Treasury, with the intention to repay the credit union when the government funds became available.

Miller, on Wednesday evening, told host of the radio programme Fitz Huggins that he had taken the matter so seriously, that he had consulted his lawyer.

“I took it to my lawyer; I sought his advice to find out how far could I go. He told me to relax a bit,” Miller said.