May 13, 2013 News
The Guyana Police Force yesterday refuted suggestions in a Kaieteur News article that the recent execution of cambio dealer Totaram Mootoo and his spouse was linked to a vendetta between Brazilians and Guyanese over a soured transaction.
Police sources had told Kaieteur News that from information they had received, the individuals who targeted Mootoo also executed two of his close associates, Intaz Roopnarine and JasonWills earlier this year. The sources had said that from information gathered, a group of Brazilians was blaming Mootoo and some of his associates for the loss of a cache said to be worth several million dollars.
But in a press release issued yesterday, the police Public Relations Department described the report, which appeared in this newspaper’s Sunday Edition, as being “totally false.”
“From the outset the police are advising the public that information stated in the article purportedly coming from “police sources” is totally false, and the Police Force wishes to express grave concern over these falsehoods and speculations which are likely to incite violence against persons of a particular nationality who reside and are working in Guyana,” the release said.
“While some facts concerning the murder of Jason Wills and the Mootoos are still unknown, the police have a lot of intelligence and evidence surrounding the murder of Intaz Roopnarine which led to arrest and charge in the matter. The public will be made aware as the trial progresses that the circumstances surrounding the death of Roopnarine are quite contrary to the speculations stated by the Kaieteur News in the article,” it added.
Roopnarine was shot dead on January 24 in the compound of the Cool Square Hotel, while 33-year-old Wills was riddled with bullets a few days later in a Meadowbrook residence. Wills was reportedly watching television in the living room when gunmen armed with high-powered weapons entered via the open front door and shot him dead.
Roopnarine, Wills and Mootoo are said to have been business partners as well as close friends.
Kaieteur News had received reports about the feud months before Mootoo’s execution, around the time that Wills was slain.
Police sources had told Kaieteur News that Mootoo had been attempting to make amends for his part in the soured deal. He reportedly recently sold a plot of land for some $40M, allegedly with the intention of paying his debt.
However, the individual to whom he sold the property failed to pay him immediately. The businessman was still waiting for payment when he was executed.
Close associates of the couple had confirmed that he had complained of being owed large sums of money but they also said that he had not appeared to be worried or expressed fear for his safety.
Police sources suggested that the foreigners became impatient and opted to kill Mootoo rather than collect their debt.
Investigators believe that Mootoo’s killers arrived at his home around 23:00 hrs on Thursday. It is believed that the men were individuals that the businessman considered to be his close friend, so he let them in.
Police sources say that from evidence at the crime scene, the men conversed at a table and even had refreshments. “It looked like they had a decent conversation before they killed him.”
Some sources believe that after that ‘decent conversation’, the men took Mootoo and his wife to their bedroom, where they used duct-tape to bind the businessman’s hands behind his back. The police sources believe that the men tortured Mootoo, before placing the couple on their bed and shooting them. It is also believed that the hit-men forced Mootoo to open a money-safe in his bedroom.
From evidence at the scene, the killers then placed a 20-pound gas cylinder on the bed and caused it to ignite. The ensuing explosion blew a hole in the bedroom wall and the subsequent blaze destroyed the house.
The charred bodies of 54-year-old Totaram Mootoo, called ‘Beer’, and 48-year-old Bhagmattie Mootoo, called ‘Dolly’, were discovered early Friday morning in their master bedroom.
The couple was lying on a bed with the woman’s arm around her husband. Fragments of a gas cylinder were found at the head of the bed. Other fragments were also found in the yard, having blasted through a massive hole in the bedroom wall. The blast also blew off the roof and several windows.
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