Following the denial of an application to recall a witness, Special Prosecutor Patrice Henry, yesterday closed his case in one of the trials against 39-year-old former accountant for the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Peter Ramcharran.
Ramcharran faces 39 charges of fraudulent conversion and misappropriation, which allegedly took place between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2015. He had pleaded not guilty to all the charges which involved tens of millions of dollars. The total is said to be over $400M.
There are 17 charges of keeping fraudulent accounts, 16 for fraudulent appropriation and five for the falsification of accounts. One of the trials is before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
Two weeks ago, Prosecutor Henry, who is working for the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) had entered an application to recall his witness, Ravern Liverpool, the Human Resources Officer for GRDB.
In her testimony, she had given evidence regarding the appointment, annual leave and resignation of the defendant. The prosecutor wished to recall her and tender documents to show the leave history of the defendant, which shows how he allegedly committed the fraud during such time.
Attorney-at-law, Sase Gunraj, who is representing the defendant, had objected to this application to recall the witness as he claimed there is no relevance to her return.
Moreover, yesterday when the matter was recalled, Magistrate McLennan ruled on the application to recall the witness.
The ruling was in favour of the defence, as the magistrate cited that the documents the prosecutor wished to tender were not a part of the witness’ evidence-in-chief, and as such, she did not see the relevance of the witness being recalled.
The SOCU prosecutor then closed the case of the State in the matter. The hearing was adjourned until September 23, when attorney Gunraj will make a no-case submission on behalf of his client.
Ramcharran, of 32 Area ‘G’ Goedverwagting, East Coast Demerara, was brought before the court after eluding the hearings for almost two years while in Canada.
Ramcharran had first applied for refugee status. After he was turned down in December, he sought a review of his extradition process but this, too, was turned down. In 2017, the Chief Magistrate had issued an arrest warrant for him.
The GRDB found itself in the spotlight after a forensic audit of that entity revealed a number of “anomalies”, such as loans without proper paperwork or promissory notes.
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