Computers stolen from Security Ministry

Computers stolen from Security Ministry
Computers stolen from Security Ministry 

By Karyl Walker
Sunday Observer staff reporter 
September 16, 2007

The Organised Crime Investigative Division is now probing the recent 
mysterious theft of two desktop computers from the Ministry of National 
Security, taken from the fortified seventh floor, where former minister 
Peter Phillips had his office.

"I can confirm that a computer was stolen from a seventh floor office 
sometime between (week before last) Friday night and (last) Monday 
morning," Deputy Commissioner in charge of crime, Mark Shields told the 
Sunday Observer.

"An employee left the office and returned to work Monday morning and 
found that the computer was stolen," Shields added. Shields said that 
there was no evidence of forced entry. The only entrance leading to the 
particular area of the seventh floor is manned round the clock by two 
Jamaica Defence Force soldiers and is equipped with a metal detector.

Meanwhile, freshly sworn in Minister of National Security Derrick Smith 
told the Sunday Observer that a second computer was also stolen from an 
office on the fourth floor. The minister said the reported theft had 
left him feeling "suspicious".

"I am very suspicious and very concerned that it happened during this 
time of transition," Smith said, adding that he discovered that the 
computers were missing when he went to the ministry after he and 16 
other Cabinet colleagues took their oaths of office at King's House last 

Smith said the computer that was stolen from the seventh floor was being 
used by a political appointee who recently resigned from the ministry.

"It was assigned to, and being used by, a political appointee," Smith 
said. But according to the new security minister, "the major concern is 
that during the week, an office on the fourth floor was broken into and 
another computer stolen".

Shields told the Sunday Observer that while there have been no arrests, 
a number of persons had been interviewed. The security minister said he 
expected the police to close in on the persons responsible for stealing 
the computers.

"We are expecting them to be able to apprehend someone. Security checks 
suggest that (during that) period only four persons, two soldiers and 
two cleaners, had access to the building," Smith said.

Smith said he has ordered permanent secretary Gilbert Scott, to conduct 
an immediate security check. "I have instructed the permanent secretary 
to arrange a security audit done to ensure that we don't have any 
incident of the sort again," Smith told the Sunday Observer.

The theft of the computers come on the heels of reports that documents 
were being shredded at various government ministries, raising suspicions 
that attempts were being made to hide corrupt practices by persons in 
the previous administration.

The People's National Party (PNP), which had been in government for 18 
years, was beaten by the Jamaica Labour Party in the September 3 general 

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