BELMOPAN, Tues. June 30, 2020– Corporal Oscar Itch, of Belmopan police, who was the Firearms Clerk at the National Police Headquarters, has been detained pending multiple charges of forgery, for producing false gun license approval letters.
The Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, said that Itch produced and issued about 30 fake gun licenses. He has been running a fake gun license operation in the department, said the Police Commissioner, who also revealed that about 28 of the fake gun licenses have been recovered.
Williams said that the fake documents were issued to Mennonites and Chinese nationals between December 2019 and May 2020
The Police Department is now rounding up the persons who were issued these fake gun licenses and has impounded their firearms because the licenses are not legal.
Today, during the regular police press brief held at the Commissioner’s Office at the police headquarters in Belmopan, the Commissioner told the media that in the past, there had been confusion in the issuance of firearm licenses, and he implemented a new and easier system for processing applications for gun licenses, which went into effect on January 1, 2020.
Commissioner Williams said that on Friday, he went to a gun dealer to see if the new system was being implemented, and to see how well it was working and whether improvements were needed. When he inspected the gun license approval letters, which authorize a person to buy a gun prior to getting his or her gun license, he found many discrepancies. He saw that the signatures on the approval letters had been forged, and the seal was not the Commissioner’s seal, but was the seal for Dangerous Goods, which would not be on a Special Protection gun license.
The Commissioner immediately became concerned, and he suspected that a scheme involving the forgery of gun license approval letters was happening. He then ordered the gun dealer to give him all the approval letters that had been presented to him for the purchase of firearms.
Commissioner Williams and his secretary studied them closely and compared them to those he had approved, and found that those letters he had gotten from the gun dealer were not approved or authorized by him, and had not been issued through his approval system. He did not recognize the names of the applicants to whom those approval letters had been issued.
The Commissioner then checked the Firearms Clerk’s computer, and that was when he found the fake approval letters. This led Commissioner Williams to conclude that the Firearms Clerk had been making and issuing false gun license approval letters.
The Deputy Head of National Crimes Investigation was then tasked to launch an investigation into the massive forgery, and Corporal Itch was detained.
Commissioner Williams said that charges will be brought against Itch, and it is likely that the matter will be brought before a police tribunal for trial.
If Itch is found guilty, the tribunal has the authority to dismiss him in disgrace, making him join the now long lines of people who are unemployed due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Bernard Wagner of Belize City said that there are about 80,000 people presently unemployed, with no end in sight. Police have secure employment and there has been no salary cut.
If discharged, Itch must find a way to support his family in these hard and jobless times.