As the trial of 33-year-old Sawak Maraj, a Trinidadian Chemical Engineer, who is accused of faking his own kidnapping continues, police prosecutor Dominic Bess yesterday made his final submissions into the matter.
The trial is being conducted in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts by Senior Magistrate Fabayo Azore.
It was alleged that on October 27, last, at Georgetown, Maraj knowingly gave false information to the police, stating that he was kidnapped and that his abductors demanded US$700,000 for his release.
It was further alleged that on the same day at Madewini Resort, Soesdyke/Linden Highway, Maraj conspired with other persons to negotiate to obtain a ransom of US$700,000.
The Trinidadian pleaded not guilty to both charges and was released on $1M bail by Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan on his second court appearance, after spending three weeks on remand.
After the submission was laid over by the prosecutor, Magistrate Azore adjourned the matter until June 28, when she will make a decision into the matter.
Late last year, the defendant was granted permission to leave the jurisdiction and return to his homeland. He has been showing up in court every time his matter is called.
Maraj, who had opted to give an unsworn statement, had told the court, “I am not guilty of these charges. Your worship, at no point did I agree with anyone to fake my kidnapping. All this time, I still believed that Abraham was a bona fide employee of Exxon, who was at the airport to facilitate as a recipient on Exxon’s behalf,” Maraj noted.
He added that he was driven to several locations and that’s when he realised that something was wrong. He told the court that he was taken to a hotel and a cutlass was placed to his throat, and he was threatened.
“I became very afraid; I knew no one and I was very confused. I was visibly relieved when the police came shortly after my captors had fled.”
According to information, Maraj arrived in Guyana on October 28, last, via the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri. He reportedly left the airport in a taxi and was heading to a hotel on East Bank Demerara when he disappeared.
It was a Guyanese who went to the hotel and made reservations for Maraj. Shortly after the engineer left the airport, a photograph of him with someone holding a cutlass to his neck, was sent to his parents and other relatives in Trinidad and Tobago.
It is alleged that the ‘kidnappers’ threatened to kill their victim if the demanded ransom was not paid. The engineer’s family immediately made contact with the Guyana Police Force and forwarded the photograph.
This newspaper was informed that local ranks were able to track the number that the ‘kidnappers’ used to make contact with Maraj’s relatives. They were also able to trace the location where the call was made.
Ranks were immediately mobilised from around Georgetown and sent to the location in a bid to rescue the ‘victim.’ On arrival at the hotel, they took up strategic positions. They were puzzled when they entered the room where the ‘victim’ was being held and found him relaxing on a sofa, drinking a can of fruit-juice. He was not bound nor gagged.
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