The Guyana Bank For Trade and Industry (GBTI) is suing National Media and Publishing Company, the publishers of the Kaieteur News, for a report last month which spoke of a US$500M probe involving the much-touted Venezuela rice-for-oil deal.
An ex-parte injunction, applied for by the bank, has also been granted by Justice Sandil Kissoon restraining the newspaper until December 14 when the matter is called, from repeating certain words contained in the article published on November 15.
The story had centred on an interview by Special Prosecutor, Patrice Henry, who is part of a team working on a massive fraud scheme allegedly committed under the previous administration at the Guyana Rice Development Board.
A number of former officials have been charged already by the police crack unit on financial crimes – the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).
This particular investigation has SOCU tracking where US$500M went.
SOCU had earlier this year asked the bank to produce transaction documents relating to wire transfers.
The matter ended up in court where several directors and the chief of the bank were all charged for contempt, in a case that is unprecedented because of the high profile nature of the executives.
There are matters both in the magistrates’ courts and at the level of the High Court over the battle between SOCU and the bank.
The bank claimed its reputation was damaged as a result of the article and is demanding among other things, $600M for libel, exemplary damages, and damages in excess of $100,000.
It also wants interests and costs.
The bank is claiming that it has been doing business for over 100 years and is listed in the local stock exchange.
The bank placed ads in separate newspapers yesterday reporting on the injunction and other aspects of the lawsuit. These advertisements were not in Kaieteur News.
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