The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar-Ali-Hack has issued a decree to the six-member Special Prosecuting team to prosecute the money laundering case against former Permanent Secretary of the Office of the President Omar Shariff and his reputed wife Shabita Hardeo.
This disclosure was made by Attorney General Basil Williams at a press conference at the Ministry of Legal Affairs boardroom yesterday.
The AG said that six Attorneys were issued with that instruction by the DPP and it will be their maiden trial since they were selected by the state. Williams said that the battery of lawyers has a wealth of knowledge and experience to undertake the task. He further stated that the six attorneys can only prosecute cases with the concurrence of the DPP, except where a private criminal matter is filed.
Shariff was sent on leave by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon, pending an investigation by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) of the Guyana Police Force. He had been part of an investigation where over $600M 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.
The Guyana Revenue Authority also became involved as what amounted to billions of dollars was found in several such accounts. Shariff insists that the monies were from sales of phone cards and credits.
Additionally, Williams said that the six-member government-appointed team will be assisting the Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) in its preparation of cases to be prosecuted.
The AG did not say what criteria were used to select the six attorneys – Trenton Lake, Michael Somersall, Hewley Griffith, Lawrence Harris, Patrice Henry and Compton Richardson – but he did indicate that these individuals should be willing and have a certain skill set to take up the responsibility.
Continuing, the AG said another issue that they were confronted with is confidentiality. He said that the special prosecutors had to be chosen carefully; since they (government) could not have vital information getting out to those who are suspected of malfeasance in public office.
Williams said because some of these suspects are former public officials of the previous administration, lawyer selection was key, with confidentiality paramount if these cases were to be prosecuted successfully. He did not want to say who was prosecuting what, since he did not want the government to show its hands and suspects be alerted.
He made reference to the case involving former Deputy CEO of Guyana Power and Light (GPL) Aeshwar Deonarine who is suspected of fraud in public office but fled the country when he learnt he was under investigation.
Towards this end, the AG said that the current administration has to be careful with what information they put into the public domain so that they do not alert anyone concerned.
Asked if he was confident in terms of prosecuting these cases, Williams answered in the affirmative. He added that help will also be sought from overseas.
Shariff and his reputed wife Shabita Hardeo will again be in court on February 1.
Aug 02, 2020BBC Sport – Bolton Wanderers have signed Dagenham & Redbridge and Golden Jaguars defender Liam Gordon on a two-year contract. The 21-year-old, who has won five international caps for...
Aug 02, 2020
Aug 02, 2020
Aug 02, 2020
Jul 31, 2020
Jul 31, 2020
I have typed this column exactly five months after the March 2, 2020 elections. Exactly five months after the election there... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Amid the feverish work to cope with both the public health and economic effects of COVID-19 on their... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]