Two wills by a man who a lawyer said never acknowledge the presence of his children, are believed to award the man’s assets worth millions of dollars to two strangers, one of them his maid and the other, the girl who worked as a cashier in Horseshoe Racing Service.
And this might have very well been the end of the story except that the man’s daughter is mounting a serious challenge for her father’s property.
The woman, Shirene Mongroo-Parisi, is a US citizen resident in New York. Her father, Yusuf Mongroo, established the racing service, built a house in New Garden Street and because of his wealth he expressed a fear that his children might have been kidnapped and held for ransom.
For this reason he kept his children out of Guyana and away from his business.
Yusuf Mongroo died on August 15, 2010, in St Joseph Mercy Hospital. He was 83. After his death, two wills dated August 12, 2010 surfaced. Nothing went to his children.
However, in her fight against what appears to be an attempt to disinherit her, Shirene Mongroo-Parisi moved to the court and had the two wills set aside.
Attorney at law Vivikenand ‘Vish’ Persaud said, yesterday, that he prepared one of the wills. He said that Yusuf Mongroo had been his client for nearly 30 years.
He said that when Mongroo was admitted to hospital, the man summoned him and instructed him to prepare his will. The lawyer said that at no time did the man mention any children.
He said that the first will contained an error and had to be redone. He presented the finished product to Mongroo at his hospital bed. Mr Persaud said that he was not there when the will was executed.
He said that when Mongroo gave him the instructions to prepare the will the man was lucid—very lucid.
Asked to comment on the second will which was signed by Mongroo and witnessed by two doctors, Dr Rohan Jabour and Dr K. S. Kumar, the same day—August 12, 2010—Mr Persaud said that he knew nothing about that. He did not prepare that will.
But in the will that sought to dispose of the assets, according to Vish Persaud, Mongroo bequeathed 55 per cent of the Horseshoe Racing Service to Sasedai Kumari Persaud—the cashier; and the remainder to Indranie Mulchand, his maid.
Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran, who is representing Persaud and Mulchand, said that one of his clients, Persaud, started her working career at Horseshoe Racing Service. He said that when Mongroo, who was then 73 years old, employed her to worked outside. He said that one year later Mongroo made her supervisor of the outer section.
He said those two years later, Mongroo made Persaud a supervisor of the inner section and a year later, he brought her inside the cashier section. He said that the girl was to continue as the cashier to this day.
Asked to comment on the two wills, Senior Counsel Ramkarran said that he knew many things about Mongroo. He said that the man developed relationships with many people. Basil Joseph prepared Mongroo’s taxes for more than two decades and Dr Rohan Jabour, who was one of the signatories on the will, had been attending to Mongroo for nearly 30 years, according to Ramkarran.
Dr Jabour is a noted pediatrician.
Shirene Mongroo-Parisi described her father’s signature as irregular. Mr Ramkarran said that the man was weak and with each passing day his signature would become increasing irregular.
He said that there are other specimen signatures taken when Mongroo had to sign for drugs and they too appear to be irregular.
He said that he became the challenge to the wills and he pre-empted any injunction by moving to the court for an order that the business be allowed to operate.
The Senior Counsel also said that the court ordered that there be monthly audits of the Horseshoe Racing Service. Since then, that monthly audit is being conducted by Ramesh Lall.
He said that all the people involved in the preparation of the will are of good reputation. “Vish Persaud is not known to be crooked. And the doctors will not risk forging any will because they know that they could go to jail.”
But newly retained lawyer for Shirene Mongroo-Parisi, Khemraj Ramjattan, said that he is challenging the wills on condition that Yusuf Mongroo was not in a position to sign anything.
He said that on the same August 12, when he was supposed to have signed his wills, he could not sign an approval to receive blood from the very hospital.
He said that he is going to prove that the wills are forgeries. He spoke about the condition of Mongroo’s brain and provided evidence revealed by the post mortem conducted by Dr Nehaul Singh.
“His brain had atrophied. He was in no mental condition to do anything.”
Ramjattan said that the evidence of forgery is overwhelming. He said that he is heartened by the fact that Vish Persaud acknowledged that he was not there when the wills were signed.”
He said that there is a lot wrong and that he will represent his client to the end. He said that Ms Mongroo-Parisi paid his colleague, Anil Nandlall, US$10,000 as a retainer to represent her in this action.
This was confirmed by Ms Mongroo-Parisi. However, she said that she was dissatisfied with the quality of representation and had to drop him.
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