Cop claims phone tapped

KINGSTON — Senior Superintendent of Police, James Forbes, charged yesterday that his phones were tapped and cops were listening in on his conversations.

“I am not going to give them anything to use so I won’t speak with you now,” Forbes told the Jamaica Observer in response to a request for an interview.

Forbes, the highly regarded head of the Police Community and Safety Branch, has found himself in the middle of an alleged bribery scandal also involving former Information Minister Daryl Vaz and businessman Bruce Bicknell of Tankweld.

Forbes reportedly became involved when former Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas suggested mediation to Sergeant Jubert Llewellyn, who was said to be conflicted after Vaz approached him about the bribery allegation against Bicknell, his close friend.

Asked for his comment, Forbes, sounding very calm on the phone, said the account of his involvement was not correct but that he would not speak on the matter as his phones were tapped.

“I would not want to discuss it for more reasons than one. My phone is wired and they are listening in on my conversation. I’m not giving them anything to use. The most I am willing to say is that my lawyer will speak to this at the appropriate time,” he said.

The Jamaican airwaves were saturated last week with news broken that the Director of Public Prosecutions had cited Bicknell, Vaz and Forbes after bribery allegations against Bicknell by traffic cops, which ballooned into a scandal now before the courts.

Forbes was charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice while Vaz was charged under corruption laws.

Vaz provided an explanation for his involvement and why a minor traffic incident escalated into the arrest of Bicknell on April 9 this year.

He suggested that as Bicknell was a very wealthy man, a $5,000 traffic ticket would be “no sweat off his back to pay” but that he got angry when the traffic cops wanted to take him to the police station without any concern for the safety of his teenaged daughter and her school friend who were in his car when it was stopped on the way to the Norman Manley International Airport.

“Bicknell was taking his daughter and her school friend to catch a flight to go back to school when he was stopped for speeding on the Sir Florizel Glasspole Boulevard. He was subsequently arrested for allegedly offering to bribe the police officer and granted bail. I heard about it two days later.” (Observer)

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