Six former board members of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), who were slapped with fraud-related charges for allegedly failing to make proper entries into the general ledger of the GRDB’s Republic Bank account, amounting to some $362M, were served with statements yesterday.
The six officials are former General Manager of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) Jagnarine Singh; former Deputy General of GRDB and People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Member of Parliament Madanlall Ramraj; General Secretary of the Rice Producers Association (RPA) and PPP/C Member of Parliament, Dharamkumar Seeraj; former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs and PPP/C Member of Parliament, Nigel Dharamlall; former General Manager of the Guyana Oil Company Badrie Persaud and former Deputy Permanent Secretary Finance Ministry of Agriculture, Prema Roopnarine.
The prosecution is alleging that between January 1 and December 31, 2012 the six officials, with intent to defraud, omitted or concurred to be omitted $77.3M from the general ledger of the GRDB’s Republic Bank account.
Similarly, between January 1 and December 31 of years 2013, 2014 and 2015 with intent to defraud the entity, they omitted or concurred to be omitted from the said Republic Bank account, $9.7M, $130M and $145M for the three respective years.
When the matter was called yesterday, Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) prosecutor, Trenton Lake disclosed statements to the defendants.
Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan ordered that the defendants, who have been each released on $500,000 bail, appear before Magistrate Leron Daly on July 31.
GRDB is the authority charged with overseeing the rice industry throughout the country. Upon entering Government in May 2015, the David Granger-led administration immediately ordered a number of forensic audits to determine the health of the state agencies.
With regards to the GRDB report, it was noted that over a three to four-year period, more than US$500M from the PetroCaribe proceeds (Venezuela rice-for-oil deal) would have passed through the accounts of the entity.
Among some of the “anomalies” found were loans without proper paperwork or promissory notes. There were other instances of persons in the agency using GRDB’s money to trade in foreign currency.
The losses for the Government would have been significant, especially if the money was traded for less than it should have been.
The Auditor General and the forensic audit reports have all pointed to severe deficiencies in the manner the monies of the state have been handled by the entities.
Oct 16, 2018By Sean Devers in Trinidad In association with Regal, Vnet, Noble House Seafoods & Cascadia Hotel In murky conditions and played before virtually empty stands, Guyana Jaguars, led by a 79-run...
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