Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, moved to the courts, yesterday, and secured an injunction that permitted him to search the homes and offices of 13 officials and executive members of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB).
The Attorney General (AG) said that the move is to retrieve books, records, computer records, goods and chattels, cheque books, deposit books, accounting records, minutes of meetings, and correspondence for received cash and information on funds held in bank accounts, all in an effort to bring closure to the debacle facing the administration of the sport locally.
The AG has assured that continuous interventions will be made to restore the reputation of the sport on the local front.
The injunction allowed for searches of properties belonging to: Chetram Singh, Lionel Jaikarran, Ramsay Ali, Fizul Bacchus, Alfred Mentore, Anand Sanasie, Dru Bahadur, Anand Kalludeen, Colin Europe, Troy Mendonca, Terrence Holder, Rayon Griffith and Nazimul Drepaul.
The order came after officials of the GCB removed the padlocks that the Interim Management Committee had placed on the doors of the GCB office following an earlier court ruling.
This injunction restrained the GCB officials from removing anything in the office and sparked the search, which was permitted by the court presided over by Chief Justice Ian Chang. One GCB official said that the search was intended to unearth any material that might have been removed from the GCB office.
The order mandated that searches be conducted between 8:00 hours and 18:00 hours. It did not permit the searchers to remove anything from the GCB office but they did, never the less.
The order also stipulated that no more than six people enter any premises but yesterday, at every location raided, there were many more. There were representatives from the Attorney General Chambers, Ministry of Youth and Sport, the police Criminal Investigations Department and court officials.
The police, some of whom were detectives, told the occupants of the raided premises that they were there to ensure that the order of court was carried out. They refused to show the order, saying that it was a private document that could only be shown to an attorney representing the cricket board.
They went to the office of Board Secretary Anand Sanasie, but on finding no one there, they did not try to force their way into the premises.
And in the wake of the searches, president of Guyana’s embattled cricket board, Ramsey Ali, resigned. The police had invaded his home.
Ali said that court officials seized financial documents and other papers at his office and home and at the homes and offices past President Chetram Singh, and another trustee, Lionel Jaikarran. He could not say how many other homes were raided.
The dispute began with board elections in mid-2011. The various boards that comprise the Guyana Cricket Board could not agree on the candidate elected president. In fact, there were two factions. The dispute caused the government to appoint an interim management committee to take control of the country’s cricket affairs, backed by the High Court ruling the GCB a legal nonentity.
The government locked the board out of its offices in January, but a court later ordered the locks removed.
Despite all that, the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) continues to recognize only the board, and last month the International Cricket Council (ICC) warned Guyana that it faced serious consequences if the government remained in charge.
The WICB has already canceled plans for Australia to play a test against West Indies in Guyana in April, and moved the Guyana team to a base in Dominica for the ongoing regional championship.
In an exclusive interview with the National Communications Network, Nandlall said the order was obtained on Friday and the searches conducted Monday. However, he was unable to say what material was retrieved as the court continues to deliver short-pitched deliveries to cricket officials.
According to Nandlall, appropriate disciplinary measures will be meted out to guilty parties should important documents be found in their personal possession.
The recent High Court ruling rescinded an earlier ruling which gave the GCB officials full control of its office and to carry out its daily operations.
The AG said that he is pleased that Chief Justice Ian Chang saw it fit to rescind the earlier ruling until a full investigation is completed in the interest of Guyanese cricket.
This new order also ensures that government has put a spending cap of $50,000 on the executives of the GCB. According to Robin Singh of the GCB, they could not even pick up the Guyana team who returned home yesterday morning.
The effects of this latest development could be far reaching and the response of the WICB and ICC will be keen to follow.
Singh in questioning the move said that they (GCB) don’t keep their accounts in pencil and wanted to know if based on the new court order if the President of Guyana could now seize people’s houses and other private property as is being done with the cricket board, which is in virtual lock down by the latest development.
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