Canada-based Guyanese Immigration Consultant off to jail
After claiming he could obtain “Canadian visas” for a number of persons, Immigration Consultant Balwant Persaud, 54, of 57 Robb Street, Bourda, was yesterday slapped with two counts of obtaining money by false pretence and another of fraud.
It was alleged that Persaud on June 11, 2008 obtained $1.2M from Kampaul Jaipaul by falsely pretending that he could secure a Canadian student visa, knowing same to be false.
A second charge states that on August 7, 2008, also with the intent to defraud, he obtained $1M from Nadira Mohan under the same pretext. Another charge states that Persaud, with intent to defraud, on July 5, 2008, informed a number of students that he can obtain Canadian documents for them, knowing that this could not be the case.
Persaud pleaded not guilty to all charges before Acting Chief Magistrate Melissa Robertson.
He was represented by attorney-at-law Glenn Hanoman, who in an unsuccessful bid to secure bail told the court that Persaud is not a “con artist” but a “certified Immigration Consultant”.
Hanoman further told the court that Persaud was released on $50,000 station bail. He also has no pervious convictions.
The lawyer further explained that a man by the name of “Alim Samad” was and is the real culprit. Hanoman said that Samad was arrested, questioned, then released, leaving his client Balwant Persaud to be charged for the present offences.
The lawyer relentlessly argued that “Samad” was the “real con artist” and he went behind Persaud’s back and obtained the money from the virtual complainants.
The lawyer said that his client was overseas when all the money transactions were done. Police Prosecutor Denise Griffith objected to bail for Persaud. The prosecutor noted that although Balwant Persaud was a certified consultant, he is not licensed to practise here.
She further told the court that the police never wanted Alim Samad.
This newspaper was informed that Samad who was also named by several victims as being an integral part of the alleged scheme had presented himself to the police on Wednesday but was released.
A source at the Criminal Investigations Department Headquarters, Eve Leary told Kaieteur News that Samad claimed that he had seen reports of the scam while he was in Trinidad and he returned to Guyana to clear his name.
The source also said that investigators had no incriminating evidence against Samad despite victims’ claims that they had paid money to him.
The victims also produced receipts which purportedly confirmed that Samad had collected large sums from them.
The Prosecutor disclosed that other charges were likely to be laid against the defendant shortly. Balwant Persaud was remanded to prison and is expected to make his next court appearance on Monday.
As he was leaving the court compound Persaud loudly proclaimed that the charges against him were instigated by senior government officials because he had publicized a refugee case involving a Guyanese who he had successfully represented in Canada.