Waterfalls Magazine – Bribery is defined as the offering, giving, receiving, or soliciting of any item of value to influence the actions of an official, or other person, in charge of a public or legal duty.
Today I will rehash a few recent matters in relation to bribery.
In 2021, a Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) prosecutor was charged for collecting a bribe from a gold miner.
The prosecutor was caught in a police sting operation accepting the bribe money from a gold miner, one week before he was charged for the offence.
The defendant, Sherwin Crandon, 44, of George Street, Werk-en-Rust, Georgetown, made his first court appearance before Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’Court when he pleaded not guilty and was charged for corrupt transaction by an agent.
The charge states that, at Seeta’s Bar, Kitty, Georgetown, being a prosecutor employed with the GGMC, he corruptly obtained $300,000 from Viveka Singh as an inducement for forbearing to prosecute and to cause the matter to be dismissed against Singh for illegal mining, an act in relation to his principal affairs.
According to an initial report by the Guyana Police Force (GPF), a gold miner visited its Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters at Eve Leary, Georgetown and disclosed to the police that in 2019 he was charged by the GGMC for illegal mining at Blackwater, Mahdia.
The man further revealed that Crandon called him and informed him that he was willing to dismiss his case if he paid him $300,000. He said the prosecutor went on to tell him that if he does not comply then he would be convicted for the offence.
The miner said Crandon then gave him a location to meet him at the popular bar in Station Street, Kitty. A sting operation was executed by the GPF when the GGMC prosecutor met the miner at the bar and was subsequently confronted by police – a search was conducted on him and the $300,000 was found in his pants pocket. He was informed of the allegation, arrested and taken to the Brickdam Police Station.
After Crandon was arrested, he told the GPF that he is a prosecutor at GGMC and he was prosecuting an active matter against the said gold miner at the Mahdia Magistrate Court, which was being tried at the Diamond Magistrate Court. Crandon admitted that he did collect the money from the gold miner, but claimed that he wanted to “borrow” it.
In another case, on August 30, 2021, a member of the GPF was placed on bail for allegedly extorting $400,000, from a suspect’s relative.
Police Corporal, Omale Damon was caught in a sting operation collecting money from a criminal suspect’s relative. Shortly after the sting operation, Damon made his first court appearance but he was denied bail and was remanded to prison.
However, when he appeared before Senior Magistrate, Leron Daly, in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts – he made a bail application and same was granted.
On August 13, 2021, Damon had made his first court appearance where he was remanded to prison. Kaieteur News had reported that the defendant had denied the charges which were previously read to him by Former Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan.
It was reported that he was slapped with three counts of corrupt transaction. According to information, Damon had collected a total of $400,000 from the relative of the suspect to secure that individual’s release; the suspect was in custody for the possession of a firearm.
Moreover, he was also charged for collecting an additional $80,000, which lead to his arrest after he was caught collecting the money from the suspect’s girlfriend. This led to him being arrested and subsequently charged and placed before the court. Damon is currently out on bail in the sum of $50,000 on each charge.
On October 7, 2021, the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs (MOAA) Permanent Secretary (PS), Sharon Hicks was caught in a police sting operation taking a bribe from a security services contractor.
The PS was caught after the contractor became fed-up of her allegedly demanding a $200,000 kick-back just to sign off some invoices.
He notified police of her demands and a sting operation was set up. The man agreed to pay Hicks the cash and on the day that the money was being handed over, he called in the police, and ranks were reportedly able to catch her red-handed. She was immediately sent on leave to facilitate an investigation.
Kaieteur News had reported that the PS had allegedly struck up a deal with the contractor’s father, who was the former owner of the security services company. The deal was that, in order for her to secure him a contract with the ministry, he had to give her a $200,000 kickback.
Unfortunately, he died and his son took over the company and did not know about the deal his father had made with the PS. When she started to demand money, he became furious, and decided to take action.
Notably, in September 2022, the matter was dismissed against Hicks.
While the three previous matters were police sting operations, the final matter involves three individuals who allegedly attempted to bribe a policeman at the Golden Grove Police Station, East Bank Demerara.
The defendants were granted bail when they appeared at the Diamond Magistrate’s Court. Vishal Munilall, 34, a fraud accused, his female relative, Kuluwattie Munilall, 25, and Deodharry Oodit, 26, all appeared before Principal Magistrate, Judy Latchman.
They were charged with corrupt transaction at the Golden Grove Police Station. The transaction was to allegedly bribe an investigating officer with $700,000 for Munilall’s freedom.
Munilall at the time was detained for allegedly committing fraud by selling unsuspecting customers properties that did not belong to him. He reportedly, did not want to spend Christmas in jail and had allegedly conspired with Kuluwattie and Oodit to bribe the officer to let him go. The trio pleaded not guilty to the attempted bribery charge and was granted $40,000 bail each.
According to reports, Munilall and his alleged accomplices were wanted by the police for some two years. Ranks caught Munilall and during his interrogation, he requested a phone call to his attorney and it was granted. His lawyer arrived along with his female relative, Kulwattie, who handed him a package, which he gave to the investigating officer.
After the officer found the cash in the package, Munilall reportedly requested that he drop the fraud investigation and set him free. The policeman however, reportedly refused the cash and cautioned Munilall that he had just committed an offence. When asked why he did it, Munilall reportedly responded that he simply did not want to spend Christmas in jail.
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