The Magistrates’ Courts has returned to former Permanent Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Public Service, Omar Shariff, his passport after he signaled his intentions to travel to Trinidad and Tobago to attend the Hugh Wooding Law School on a scholarship.
Shariff, 46, and his wife, Savitri Hardeo, both of Lot 36 Dowding Street, Kitty, Georgetown, are facing a criminal charge before Senior Magistrate Fabayo Azore at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
It is alleged that on or after October 14, 2016, in the Georgetown Magisterial District, Shariff failed to comply with a production order dated October 6, 2016 made by Chief Justice (CJ) Yonette Cummings-Edwards to produce certain named documents stated therein to Assistant Commissioner of Police, Sydney James (Head of the Special Organized Crime Unit), not later seven days after service. The order was served by a marshal of the High Court, on the said Shariff by leaving same with him, who contravened the said order without reasonable cause, which he failed to produce.
The duo was initially released on self-bail and ordered to lodge their passports with the court until the hearing and determination of the case.
However, yesterday Attorney-at-law Sanjiv Datadin requested that Shariff be given back his passport to facilitate him travelling to pursue the scholarship.
The lawyer’s requests were met with no objections by Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) Prosecutor Patrice Henry, as well as, the court.
In the circumstance, the Magistrate granted an order for the passport to be returned and released Shariff on $1M bail. His wife remains on self-bail. Shariff and his wife are to return to court next week Monday, September 17, when Datadin is expected to make a no-case submission.
In October, 2016 the former Chief Justice granted a production order, which compels individuals or organizations to produce information to help assist in an investigation.
The order was for both the former PS and his wife. The two apparently did not comply, despite being reminded and written to by SOCU to provide the requested information.
On June 30, 2016, Minster of State Joseph Harmon sent Shariff on leave, pending investigation by SOCU. Shariff has been under investigation where over $500M could not have been accounted for in payment to the Public Service Ministry.
Investigators found several large sums passing through bank accounts and launched a separate probe. That investigation was probing how billions of dollars passed through Shariff’s bank account from as far back as 2010, after records showed that he and his wife purchased shares in companies, which were placed in her name.
There were hundreds of transactions in several bank accounts, which were held at different commercial banks.
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