The four defendants who are charged for the million-dollar gold heist at Matthew’s Ridge airstrip were granted bail on their last court appearance at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
Charged is Basdeo Francis, 37, businessman, of Skull Mountain Arakaka, Region One; Kurt Nedd, 27, police constable of 1597 18th Street, Diamond, East Bank Demerara; Ramesh Singh, 45, a truck driver, of Port Kaituma; and Leon Campbell, 26, a gold miner of Port Kaituma.
The four defendants were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan, when they were granted bail in the sum of $300,000, each for the joint robbery charge and Basdeo was granted $100,000, on the two additional charges he have separately.
The men had pleaded not guilty to the charge which stated that on November 11, 2019, at Matthew’s Ridge, North West District, while being armed with a dangerous weapon, a gun, they robbed Jose DeCosta of $95,000, cash and a quantity of gold amounting to $18M, property of Deonarine Sooklall.
Francis is being represented by attorney-at-law Jerome Khan, who had told the court that the quantity of gold that was found in his client’s car belongs to his client.
Khan said that apart from Francis running his business, he uses his goods in exchange for gold from miners in Port Kaituma. The attorney also stated that the amount of gold that was shown in the press is not all of the gold. Some 30 ounces is allegedly missing, according to Khan.Attorney-at-law George Thomas is representing police constable Nedd. He told the court that the police apprehended his client some distance away from where the incident happened. Campbell is being represented by attorney-at-law Adrian Thompson.
Attorney-at-law Jerome Khan, is now representing Singh, the driver had previously told the court that after four months of pleading for a job with Francis when he finally got a job it ended with him in the lock-ups.
“Francis called me last Friday and asked me if I’m working and I told him no. He then asked me if I want a work and I told him yes. He then told me that I have to transport this vehicle and pick up Fine Man…This man here I don’t know his right name,” Singh added while pointing to Police Constable Nedd.The police prosecutor had objected to bail being granted to all of the defendants based on the value of the articles, the punishment that the offence attracts and the fact that guns were used in the gold heist.
The court heard that Campbell is a close friend to the victim and that Campbell was aware that the gold that was to be transported on the day of the incident.
According to reports, the victim owns a gold mining company and made arraignments for a private plane
to transport the gold from Matthew’s Ridge Airstrip to another airstrip in Guyana.
While waiting on the plane, the suspects, masked and armed with guns, arrived at the airstrip and attacked the victim.
The suspects then pointed the gun towards the victim and told them to lie down on the ground.
The suspects went into the ice-cooler and removed the quantity of gold and made good their escape.Police constable McGreggor acted on information received and intercepted Francis in his motor car. The police then asked to conduct a search on the car and three gas bottles were found with a quantity of gold concealed inside.
According to the police, when the gold was found Francis made an oral statement admitting to the police how he got the gold and he then accompanied the police to his home and showed him the guns and ammunitions that were in a barrel. The weapons were suspected to be used in the robbery.
Francis was slapped with two other charges possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.
The first charge stated that on November 11, 2019, at Skull Mountain Arakaka, North West District he had in his possession one .223 revolver and two 9mm pistols without being a licensed firearm holder.
The latter alleged that on the same date and location, he had in his possession 120 rounds of 5.56 and 25 rounds of 9mm.
Francis pleaded not guilty to both charges after they were read to him. His attorney stated that his client never took the police officer to his home and showed him any gun or ammunition.
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