…allegedly did not provide documents to police
Three days after Government terminated the service of Omar Shariff, former Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of the Presidency, he was brought back to court again yesterday to answer to a charge of failing to comply
with a Production Order.
Shariff, 46, and his wife Savitri Hardeo, 32, both of 36 Dowding Street, Kitty, Georgetown were slapped with the charge when they appeared before City Magistrate Fabayo Azore.
It is alleged that on or after October 14, 2016, in the Georgetown Magisterial District, Shariff failed to comply with a production order dated October 6, 2016, made by Chief Justice (CJ) Yonette Cummings-Edwards, to produce certain named documents stated therein to Assistant Commissioner of Police, Sydney James (Head of the Special Organized Crime Unit) not later seven days after service, which order was served by a marshal of the High Court, on the said Shariff by leaving same with him, who contravened the said order without reasonable cause, which he failed to produce.
Shariff and Hardeo, who were represented by Attorney Sanjeev Datadin, both pleaded not guilty to the allegation after it was read to them in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
They were released on their own recognizance (self-bail).
The charge against them was recommended by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions. Attorney Datadin told the court that Shariff is a businessman. He said that his clients have no prior involvement in matters involving the police. The couple has three children together.
Attorney Patrice Henry represented the prosecution and had no objections to the defendants being released on self-bail. Henry however requested that Shariff and Hardeo lodge their passports and report to Superintendent of Police Robert Tyndall, who is attached to SOCU, every Monday at 10:00hrs. Prosecutor Henry disclosed that he will be calling six to seven witnesses to testify. Before the matter concluded Attorney Datadin requested for statements to be disclosed and a certified copy of the case jacket.
Shariff and Hardeo will return to court on February 1, for statements. They walked hand in hand while leaving the court house.
In October, the Chief Justice granted a production order, which compels individuals or organizations to produce information to help assist in an investigation. The order was for both the former PS and his wife. The two apparently did not comply, despite being reminded and written to by SOCU to provide the requested information.
Shariff and his wife had appeared in court last week Thursday to be charged. However, the charge was not read after uncertainty whether the matter could be handled in the lower court arose, as the Production Order had been granted by the High Court.
The following day Government terminated Shariff’s services as PS of the Ministry of the Presidency.
On June 30, 2016, Shariff was sent on leave by Minster of State Joseph Harmon, pending investigation by SOCU. Shariff has been under investigation where over $500M could not be accounted for in payment to the Public Service Ministry. Investigators found several large sums passing through bank accounts and launched a separate probe.
That investigation was probing how billions of dollars passed through Shariff’s bank account from as far back as 2010, following records showing that he and his wife purchased shares in companies which were placed in her name. There were hundreds of transactions in several bank accounts which were held at different commercial banks.
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