Nov 02, 2016 News
A customs broker testified to forging the signature of an alleged drug trafficker on several
shipping documents to export frozen seafood in which over 20 pounds of cocaine were discovered earlier this year, at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri.
Shafur Alli, 27, of 27 La Jalousie, West Coast Demerara and his sister Lazena Imrazie, 22, of 8 Goed Fortuin, West Bank Demerara, are accused of having 9.044 kilograms of cocaine in their possession on June 8, for the purpose of trafficking.
According to reports, ranks of the Police Narcotics Branch Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters, Eve Leary, Georgetown, intercepted and seized the cocaine in a cargo shipment of frozen fish at the aforementioned airport.
Court facts revealed that the defendants declared 33 boxes of fishes to be exported. Routine checks were done on the cargo by the ranks and the cocaine was found concealed inside of the seafood.
Hugh Jacobs, a freelance customs broker was called by Police Prosecutor Bharat Mangru to testify when the trial continued before Magistrate Leron Daly in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts yesterday.
Prior to the siblings being charged, Jacobs was employed by the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) as a Receiving Officer.
In his testimony, the witness recalled that he was contacted via phone by Alli, whom he said asked him to prepare documents to ship seafood. Jacobs told the court that he prepared several documents in favour of the defendant’s request and submitted them to the Ministry of Health. He stated that he was later issued with a Health Certificate. Jacobs stated that the said documents were also submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture and he was later issued with an Export License.
The documents were also submitted to GRA.
When questioned by Police Prosecutor Bharat Mangru as to who instructed him to sign to documents, the witness told the court Imrazie.
According to Jacobs, Imrazie (the number two defendant) told him to affix her brother’s signature on the documents, because he was asleep at the time.
Under cross examination by Bernard DaSilva, Attorney for the defendants, the witness recalled that he was paid $54,000 to prepare the documents. He said that he is still to be paid an outstanding balance of $6,000.
Back in June, when the duo made their first court appearance, the lawyer had argued that his clients had no knowledge, nor did they have possession of the prohibited drug. The lawyer had told the court that Alli rents a fish plant that is operated by a third party and asserted that his client plays no part in the processing of the fish.
It was revealed by the attorney that Imrazie was merely clearing a package on the day in question and that she had not signed any declaration form associated with the alleged narcotics shipment.
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