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Opposition parliamentarians, supporters on GYD$300 million fraud-related charges at GRDB

Former General Manager of the Guyana Rice Development Board, Jagnarine Singh.

Two opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) parliamentarians and four other supporters were Friday each granted GYD$500,000 bail for allegedly omitting from the general ledger of the Guyana Rice Development Board a total of GYD$362 million while they were board members of that entity.

The prosecution’s case is that they committed the offences during each of the calendar years of 2012,  2013, 2014 and 2015. They were not require to plea to the indictable charges.

Chief Magistrate, Ann Mc Lennan released them on GYD$500,000 bail each and ordered that they return to court on June 23, 201 by which time the prosecution is expected to have all its statements

intact. They were also required to lodge their passports.

PPP parliamentarian, Nigel Dharamlall

Those accused of the three offences are former General Manager of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), President of the Guyana Rice Producers Association and PPP parliamentarian, Dharamkumar Seeraj; former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs and PPP parliamentarian, Nigel Dharamlall; former General Manager of the Guyana Oil Company, Badrie Persaud; Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Prema Roopnarine and PPP Organiser, Dhanlall Dhanraj.

In rejecting Special Prosecutor, Michael Somersall’s application for substantial bail and for them to lodge their passports and report to the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) of the Guyana Police Force, defence lawyer, Anil Nandlall said

PPP Parliamentarian, Dharamkumar Seeraj

the charge does not indicate that they defrauded the GRDB and the “clerical error” was so “minuscule” that it was not picked up by the Auditor General, the auditing firm Nizam Ali and Sons or the Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly. “They are charged not to defraud any sum of money. No sum of money is missing… That is a clerical function. If it is to be preferred, the omission to do so should not be placed at the feet of the Board of Directors,” said Nandlall. He said a logical question that has to be asked is why only six of the 15 Board members were selected and identified for charges.

“These charges, you have, are selective, in my humble view, they are vindictive,” he added. However, a senior SOCU official said the amounts connected to the charges were in a hidden bank account uncovered by forensic auditors.

Former General Manager of the Guyana Rice Development Board, Badrie Persaud

Representing Dhanraj; Attorney-at-Law, Priya Manickchand said her client had been scheduled to address a PPP public meeting. “He is of the view that why the charges were made yesterday was to stop him from speaking,” she said, adding that his appearance was postponed.

Details of the charges are that between  January 1 and December 31, 2012  with intent to defraud they omitted or concurred to be omitted GYD$77.3 million from the general ledger of the GRDB’s Republic Bank account for Agriculture Life Skills programme. They allegedly committed similar offences January 1 and December 31, 2013, amounting to GYD$9.7 million; between January 1 and December 31, 2014  for GYD$130 million from the said account and GYD$145 million from the same Republic Bank account.

PPP organiser, Dhanlall Dhanraj

After the bail was granted, the accused persons were not passed through the prisoners’ chute of the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court, but were instead allowed to walk down the stairs. They were not handcuffed or shackled.

After a few moments, they were placed in a cell with several persons who were detained for unrelated offences.

The courtroom was virtually packed with SOCU officials, family members of the accused and officials of the People’s Progressive Party including lawmakers Juan Edghill, Zulfikar Mustapha and Irfan Ali.

  • rudeo

    all of this does not improve the position of a failing economy and depression all around….clerical error…no fraud of funds…wow!…..politics is NOT for the faint-heart…really

  • rs dasai

    Greatest move so far. Board members are now responsible book keeping duties.
    Charged for an allegation. Master stroke. Omittedd from the Generl Ledger of the bank acccount? Messrs Ram and Goolsaran have anything to say?

    • Col123

      Hey RS … Dereliction of duty, no operational SOP for ledger entry, using cheap ink, lack of organizational skills, eating too much rice…they look like they grandparents step off the boat from India ..we can throw the book at them chap…

      • rs dasai

        Even we dunces know that ‘Directors’ do not do bookkeeping. Too much metemgee.

        • Col123

          Actually, there are Federal laws (Medicare) which hold CEOs responsible for infractions/fraud …. with criminal and/ or civil penalties for guilt…

          • rs dasai

            Big difference between and CEO.
            The two of us are like train without wheels, we get nowhere.
            Take a cool Banks and enjoy the summer.

        • JinnahRahman

          PPP dunces who believed that they will not be caught.

    • JinnahRahman

      WILD PPP PROPAGANDA – the PPP foot soldiers peddle the idea given to them by the “Defender of Injustice ” – Nandlall – that the alleged crimes committed against us Rice farmers – is miniscule. And that it is a Total witch hunt.
      The Truth is these cats ran the industry as if it was their fathers property.
      The Venezuelans gave them $9,000 per bag for paddy and they gave us an average of $3,000 per bag. What did they do with the $6,000 on each bag?
      Worst yet – they were paid in US dollars and used those in a trade unheard of in the rice industry. They made themselves stinking rich and thousands of farmers, poorer.
      Shame on Jagdeo and his friends who thought that they were going to be there for life!
      Rice farmers will no longer be fooled by these deceptors.

  • Col123

    We need to find out how the 400 brothas got killed…uh.. one drowned clutching his AK 47 .., how come our land reparations brothas are quiet about the demise of awee brothas?

    • rs dasai

      Yes, we nood to know and another CoI to follow up on why the brotha drowned. The Gvt should give 99 years lease land for more food production so that Gy can once more be the ‘breadbasket’. enjoy the Preakness.

      • Col123

        I thought you like to watch the WI team falter!

        • rs dasai

          Wasted thought. The rejuvination is at hand.

          • Col123

            Watch them get belly wuk in India…

  • Col123

    Hey boy.. you eating too much haram pork belly….. them Indos will continue to plant rice and survive you, Guyana and all them so called politicians…. Burnham tried to hassle them and they all got rich..

  • Lancelot Brassington

    Now we seem to be making some headway. I hope the momentum will be maintained. I also hope that the case will be properly thought out, put together and presented then skilfully argued. We don’t want another flaming fiasco like the Carvil Duncan case involving the Petrocaribe money at GPL.

  • Col123

    Sean,.. how quickly you forget.. your staunch admirer feddie will be there..the boy wrote up an entire column about you the other day … he was unsure if you were Indo or west indian!

  • Col123

    It’s the trail of the freedom fightas… gyam fyah with the compliments of those looking for reparations. The government has no interest in pursuing this!