The trial of former Permanent Secretary (PS) of Ministry of the Presidency, Omar Shariff, and his wife, who were charged for failing to comply with a court order, continued yesterday before Senior Magistrate
Fabayo Azore in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
It is alleged that Shariff, 46, and his wife Savitri Hardeo, 32, both of 36 Dowding Street, Kitty, Georgetown, on or after October 14, 2016, failed to comply with a Production Order issued by the previous Chief Justice (CJ) Yonette Cummings-Edwards.
The order was for the defendants to produce certain named documents to Assistant Commissioner of Police and Head of the Special Organized Crime Unit, (SOCU), Sydney James, no later than seven days after the service of the order.
However Shariff is said to have contravened the said order without reasonable cause, and failed to produce it.
Assistance Commissioner James told the court yesterday that relative to an allegation of money laundering involving Shariff, he conducted an investigation and requested documents from the Commercial Registry, relating to businesses owned and registered to Shariff, Savitri Hardeo and another person, Bibi Khan.
That investigation was probing how billions of dollars passed through Shariff’s bank account from as far back as 2010. There were alleged 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.
James said that he received responses from the Registry which indicated that Hardware King, Colour-R-Us and Kitty Square Mall were all registered to Shariff.
He noted that Talk-2-U is registered to Hardeo, while Sasha Cells is registered to Bibi Khan.
James told the court that on June 30, 2016, a search warrant was issued and later in that same day he headed a party of SOCU officers to search the office of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Presidency, belonging to Shariff. He said that on arrival at the location, he met Shariff in his office, where he informed him about the search warrant for documents that would assist him in the money laundering investigation.
James told the court that Shariff indicated to him that he had no problem with the search being conducted in his office. James said that the search found nothing incriminating, and he informed Shariff that officers from SOCU were conducting a similar search at his residence. Shariff indicated to him that he wanted to be present at the search, and he was accompanied by the head of SOCU to his residence. James said that on arrival at Shariff’s residence, an officer handed him a box containing documents, two laptop computers, an Acer tablet and one External Hard Drive.
After receiving the articles, James said that he went back to his office where he then marked the articles and placed them in a safe in his office.
On September 30, last, an affidavit for a Production Order was made under Section 24 of the Anti-Money-Laundering-Act. The order was related to the documents of the businesses operated by Shariff, Hardeo and Khan.
On October 6, 2016, SOCU filed for a Production Order at the High Court,
The then-Acting Chief Justice, Yonette Cummings-Edwards, granted the Order.
James told the court on October 7, 2016, he gave instructions to Superintendent Tyndall with respect to serving the two Production Orders and later that day a marshal from the Supreme Court returned documents to him, endorsing the service of the Production Order to Shariff and Hardeo. They were supposed to respond within seven days. James told the court that seven days elapsed and there was no response from either Shariff or Hardeo.
On October 28, 2016, he then wrote a letter to the defendants indicating that they were not in compliance with the Production Order. James said that a letter was then sent to him by Shariff indicating that there was a delay in the request.
James went on to tell the court that on November 4 last, he was handed over several envelopes and six boxes which were delivered by Shariff with respect to the Order. He said that he read the letter which had Shariff’s signature. He said that the letter indicated that the contents of the six boxes contained an admission that not all the requests that were ordered in the production order were complied with.
James said that he examined the boxes and marked them, then caused the boxes and documents to be lodged after analyzing the production order.
James added that on September 7, last, after analyzing the documents, he realized that there were a number of non-compliances by Shariff and Hardeo with respect to the order. He later prepared a record of his observation with respect to particular compliances and non-compliances. James said that after his observation he gave Superintendent Robert Tyndall certain instructions with respect to the fiat from the officer of Director of Public Prosecutions.
At that point of James’ testimony, the Magistrate adjourned proccedings. James will continue to give evidence at the next hearing on July 31.
Jul 05, 2020Executives and members of the Georgetown Softball Cricket League Incorporated (GSCL) express their grief at the sudden passing of a true cricket all-rounder Anil Persaud. At the time of his sudden...
The hot question at this moment is what type of attacks we will see on the Secretary-General (SG) of CARICOM, Mr. Irwin La... more
The government should not be selling any lands. It has long gone beyond being a caretaker administration and is merely in... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders There have been unhelpful and destructive attacks by leading members and zealous supporters of the... 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]