Justice Navindra Singh has granted the State five days to produce the forensic audit report, which formed the basis for which former Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) Official Guyana Rice Development Board, (GRDB) Madanlall Ramraj is charged.
Failure to produce the evidence will result in a permanent stay quashing, and set aside the charges of fraudulent omission against Ramraj.
Last year, Ramraj a former Deputy General of GRDB and People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) member was arraigned on 34 fraud-related charges.
He was charged jointly with the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) General Manager Jagnarine Singh and Peter Ramcharran, a former accountant, who is in custody in Canada, pending extradition.
According to 17 charges which 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 operating procedures.
The other 17 charges state that during the same period, the three 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. The three managers were not required to plead to the charges.
However Ramraj, through his team of lawyers approached the High Court seeking a declaration that the failure of the Prosecution to disclose a copy of the forensic audit report on the GRDB prepared by Nigel Hinds, Forensic Auditor, which formed the basis for certain investigations launched by the Special Organised Crime Unite (SOCU) against him, constitutes a violation of Article 144 of the Constitution of Guyana, more particularly, the right of the Applicant to be afforded facilities for the preparation of his defence and other protections of the law secured under and guaranteed by the said Article 144.
The applicant also sought orders for a permanent stay of proceedings, or an order quashing, vacating or setting aside the charges of Fraudulent Omission, contrary to Section 104 of the Criminal Law Offences Act, Chapter 8.
Yesterday, Justice Singh heard the Fixed Date Application,(FDA) filed against the State by attorneys representing Ramraj. After reading all the Affidavits and hearing arguments from the lawyers on both sides, the Judge found that the failure by the Prosecution to produce the Forensic Audit Report violates the applicant’s rights under Article 144 of the Constitution, that is to say, that an accused person must be afforded adequate facilities for the preparation of his defence.
In view of this, the Judge ordered that unless the forensic audit report as done by Nigel Hinds is produced by the Prosecution to either Madanlall Ramraj or his legal representatives within five days, a permanent stay will be granted, quashing, vacating and setting aside the charges of Fraudulent Omission, contrary to Section 104 of the Criminal Law Offences Act, Chapter 8, for which Ramraj is charged.
Mr Madanlall Ramraj was represented by Attorneys-at-law, Mohabir Anil Nandlall, Manoj Narayan and Rajendra Jaigobin and the Attorney General was represented by Attorney-at-law, Oneka Archer-Caulder.
The matter is set to continue on 8th June, 2018.
Last year, Jagnarine and Ramraj, were 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. (Rehanna Ramsay)
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