Gold Board General Manager, others sent on administrative leave to facilitate money laundering probe

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 April 2017, 21:55 by Denis Chabrol

FLASH BACK: Lisaveta Ramotar being escorted from the upper flat to the lower flat of SOCU shortly before she was released from custody.

The General Manager of the Guyana Gold Board, Lisaveta Ramotar was Thursday sent on administrative leave to pave the way for a police probe into alleged money laundering. Several other staff members have been also sent home temporarily.

Ramotar, who is the daughter of former President, Donald Ramotar, was told to proceed on leave “immediately” in a letter signed by Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman in keeping with the desire by the Guyana Police Force.

“On April 19, 2017, I have received a request from the Guyana Police Force for further investigations to ensue and for several Gold Board officers, including you, to be sent on leave to facilitate the conduct of the investigation,” Trotman told the Gold Board General Manager in a letter dated April 20, 2017.

The letter was copied to Guyana Gold Board Chairman, Gabriel Lall and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources, Josyln Mc Kenzie.

The minister urged the General Manager of the Guyana Gold Board to cooperate with investigators. “Further, you are expected to continue to cooperate with the investigating ranks in the conduct of the investigation,” said Trotman, a lawyer by profession.

Trotman gave no clear indication to Ramotar about her future at the Gold Board, opting only to say that “upon completion of the investigation you will be advised further.”

Licensed gold dealer, Saddiqi Rafeek Mohamed Rasul (Kaieteur News photo)

The move to probe the operations of the Guyana Gold Board stemmed from licensed gold dealer, Saddiqi Rafeek Mohamed Rasul having been charged with allegedly defrauding the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) of GYD$956 million in six separate tranches between March 21 and 22, 2017. Police said he allegedly falsely pretended that that he had cash in his account at Citizens Bank to honour the Citizens Bank cheques he had presented to the GBTI Bartica branch.

The Gold Board General Manager was asked to proceed on administrative leave more than one month after her brother, Alvaro Ramotar, was ordered to take similar leave from his post at the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI).

GWI Managing Director, Dr. Richard Vanwest Charles told Demerara Waves Online News Thursday night that Alvaro was among several other employees who were asked to proceed on leave to facilitate a probe into alleged hacking of the Information Technology (IT) system at the utility company.

Vanwest Charles had previously said the alleged hacking had resulted in the crippling of the billing system. He had said that experts from Trinidad and Tobago had been hired and new equipment purchased and installed to strengthen the security of the IT system.