By Michael Jordan
At around 19:30 hrs on April 9, 2010, a female resident of Second Street, Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara, was standing outside her house when she saw a man, who was wearing a toque, walking east along the roadway.
She didn’t pay much attention to the stranger – after all, there was nothing unusual about a man with a toque. She also observed that Rajendra Sonilall, called ‘Moti’, who processed and exported salted fish, was sitting outside his business premises, which was closed for the day.
And she still didn’t realise that death was seconds away when the man, who had walked past 43-year-old Sonilall, suddenly turned and headed back in the direction from which he had come.
It was then that three loud explosions startled her.
She then saw the stranger upper body.
He was dead by the time residents got him to the Georgetown Public Hospital.
Police who examined the body ascertained that someone had shot the businessman at close range in the back of the head and in the chest. Two .32 shells were found at the scene.
Rajendra Sonilall had been killed by a professional gunman.
Eyewitness accounts led police to believe that the stranger with the toque had carried out the execution.
To many of Sonilall’s friends, the killing made no sense. All the residents along Second Street, Mon Repos, said that he was a generous individual with apparently no enemies. Sonilall, a father of five, had been operating his business for some 25 years without any conflict.
He had left home at around 06:00 hrs on that fateful day. He returned home at around 17:15 hrs to bathe and eat before heading back to his business place, which is located a few buildings from his home
A possible motive began to emerge when detectives began to question his close relatives.
They revealed that in the months leading up to his death, Sonilall had repeatedly complained that some of his associates owed him large amounts of cash and had not indicated when he would be repaid.
One associate allegedly owed him $15M, another $9M, and a third $5M. The investigators learned that one of the debtors had been questioned in connection with a cocaine bust.
But detectives also found out that Sonilall himself had reportedly owed an associate a substantial sum of cash.
This left them with two theories. One was that someone decided to wipe out Sonilall rather than pay off the debt. The other was that Sonilall was killed because he was unable to repay his debt, due to the fact that persons owed him substantial sums of money.
A few days after receiving this information, detectives detained two of the business associates. However, they were unable to implicate them in Sonilall’s murder. They also took possession of two of the slain man’s mobile phones in an effort to check on his last phone calls.
According to relatives, investigators are still to return the phones, and it is unclear whether they unearthed any leads.
As for the gunman who calmly walked into Second Street, Mon Repos, and shot Sonilall at close range, police say he is yet to be identified.
If you have any information about this case please contact the police.
You can also contact Kaieteur News by letter or telephone at our Lot 24 Saffon Street, Charlestown offices. Our numbers are 22-58465, 22-58458 and 22-58491. You need not disclose your identity.
You can also contact Michael Jordan at his email address [email protected]
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