The US$500M fraud probe of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) that landed a bank and the police main anti-money laundering unit in court is not yet over with more legal challenges now.
The Guyana Bank For Trade and Industry (GBTI) is heading to court again today to take on the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) over the release of transaction information regarding spending for the Cricket World Cup in 2007.
Guyana built a stadium and hosted a number matches for 2007; the spending is what is under question.
It will be recalled that SOCU had gone to court asking for orders mandating the bank to share information regarding the cricket accounts.
However, the bank is fighting those requests.
According to court documents, the bank is opposed to an ex-parte application made by SOCU to direct the institution to produce the Banker’s Book on the basis of Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act of 2009.
The records are related to banking transactions conducted by the official Guyana World Cup Inc. for a period of nine years; between March 2007 and December 31 2016.
GBTI is arguing that the anti-money laundering laws were enacted in 2009. SOCU is asking for records from 2007.
Earlier this year, SOCU through its head, Sydney James, applied to the court to have copies of all the records including wire transfers, instructions letters for purchases of US dollars and bank account drafts, among other things.
Additionally, SOCU was also seeking certified copies of all GBTI documentation that resulted from the processing of the transactions.
These include details of the beneficiary to whom the final payment is made, the full details of the beneficiary bank including the address, the beneficiary account number and the full details of the corresponding/intermediary bank through which the transaction was routed including SWIFT CODE, IBAN and/or Fedwire details for the period.
However, the bank has moved to challenge the SOCU application citing sections of the Anti Money Laundering Act.
GBTI is seeking a declaration that the applicant cannot be lawfully ordered to produce and create documents since it is of the view that sections of the article 144 guarantee every citizen the secure protection of the law which affords every person a fair hearing before any order is made which may affect the legal liability of that person.
SOCU’s actions in the court conflicts this protection, GBTI is arguing.
GBTI is also arguing that SOCU is asking for the evidence to be presented in a certain manner which the bank is unable to do as it would conflict with the evidence law.
The bank has been battling SOCU since last year over release of information which dates back to the administrations of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic.
Last year, several directors were taken to court, charged with contempt.
SOCU wanted transactions for GRDB accounts but there were delays. SOCU filed charges.
Tough anti-money laundering laws mandate reporting entities like banks to fully cooperate with authorities in investigations.
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