Despite being granted more time by the High Court to produce outstanding documents to the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), pertaining to one of the biggest fraud investigations, the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) is yet to fully comply.
On October 20, the court ordered the bank to find and produce the documents which it says cannot be found by November 3.
The matter came up yesterday, before Chief Justice (ag) Roxanne George SC and GBTI is still to hand over the outstanding documents.
At the centre of the case is the request by SOCU for transaction documents regarding a US$500M investigation at the state-owned Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB).
SOCU is tracking, based on a forensic audit report on GRDB, where some US$500M were transferred under the tenure of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic, relating to a rice for oil deal between Guyana and Venezuela.
The matter started early this year when SOCU asked the bank to provide the documents.
Initially, the bank was hesitant to comply, claiming at first that the account was a private one.
Then there were claims that some of the documents were lost because of new scanning technology introduced. There have been a number of court sessions involving the bank and SOCU and the Chief Justice to arrive at a solution.
The bank, which said it has now submitted over 12,000 documents, is claiming that it has complied.
However, SOCU is insisting that some of the documents, which include authorisations purportedly issued by GRDB, are missing. They include transactions of more than US$30M ($6B).
Charged with contempt at the bank are Chairman Robin Stoby, his directors, and Chief Executive Officer (ag), Shaleeza Shaw. The case is being regarded as a major test for investigators under new anti-money laundering laws.
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