The Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) matter yesterday continued in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts before Principal Magistrate Judy Latchman.
Yesterday when the matter was called, Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) Prosecutor, Patrice Henry served the defendants with 2,000 copies of statements.
The two officials charged are former General Manager of the Guyana Rice Board Development Board, Jagnarine Singh, and former Deputy General of GRDB and People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) Member, Madanlall Ramraj.
It is alleged that between 2011 and 2012, at Lot 16-17 Cowan Street, Kingstown, they omitted to enter, or to make true entries of over $4.2M into the company’s ledger, knowing that it was contrary to standard operation procedures.
Other charges state that during the same timeframe, the two officials are alleged to have fraudulently taken $5.1M or applied the money for their own use and benefit or any use and purpose, other than that of the GRDB.
Yesterday when the matter was called in Magistrate Latchman courtroom, the prosecutor told the court that the investigation into the matter was completed and that he will be serving both defendants with statements.
The prosecutor had to be assisted with getting the reams of statements into the courtroom since there were several parcels.
The defence lawyer, Glen Hanoman, upon seeing the reams of statements said “The prosecutor intention is for this trial to go on until 2020.”
Before the statements were handed over to the defendants, the Magistrate clerks spent over two hours going through and numbering the statements which were about three feet thick.
The two defendants then collected their statements and exited the courtroom with some assistance.
The Magistrate adjourned the matter until February 13 when the defendants will appear before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan.
Last month when the matter was called, the prosecutor had told the court that he was given instructions by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to amend the 34 fraud related charges.
Eighteen charges will now read “It is alleged that the two between 2011 and 2012, at Lot 16-17 Cowan Street, Kingstown, they fraudulently took $5.1M for or any use or purpose, other than that of the GRDB.”
While sixteen of the charges will now read “It is alleged that between 2011 and 2012, at Lot 16-17 Cowan Street, Kingstown, they omitted to make true entries of over $4.2M into the company’s ledger, knowing that it was contrary to standard operation procedures.”
Already, in one case, six former high-ranking officials of GRDB, including Jagnarine and Ramraj, have been charged and placed on $500,000 bail each for allegedly failing to make a proper entry into a register of a company with the intent to defraud $362M from the entity’s Republic Bank account.
The six officials also included General Secretary of the 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 the Deputy Permanent Secretary, Finance Ministry of Agriculture, Prema Roopnarine.
The accused all pleaded not guilty to the charges which alleged that between January 1 and December 31, 2012, with intent to defraud, they omitted or concurred to be omitted $77.3M from the general ledger of the GRDB’s Republic Bank account.
Similarly, between 2013, 2014 and 2015 with intent to defraud the entity, they are alleged to have omitted or concurred to be omitted from the said Republic Bank account, $9.7M, $130M and $145M for three respective years.
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