SOCU Head testifies as GBTI Directors’ case continues

first_imgSpecial Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) Head, Sydney James on Thursday testified before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan as the trial continued of eight Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) Directors accused of not complying with a court order to produce financial records. The Directors are charged with failing to comply with a court order requesting documents to facilitate an investigation into the US$500 million Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) fraud case – a charge they all deny.On Thursday, it was revealed that James gave instructions with respect to filing charges against GBTI’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) based on advice given by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) after the Bank failed to hand over the documents.SOCU Head, Sydney JamesHowever, James explained that he was at SOCU Headquarters when an envelope was delivered by a representative of GBTI; subsequently, the documents covered by the production order were delivered to him on August 7 and 8, 2017.The matter was adjourned until February 12, 2018.Several former senior officials of the GRDB have been charged in the ongoing probe into money transfers in the hundreds of millions of dollars to a prominent Essequibo rice farmer.But as a result of the Bank’s refusal to provide information requested by SOCU, the Unit approached the High Court seeking a production order, which was issued by acting Chief Justice Roxane George.The order, served by a marshal of the High Court, compelled GBTI to provide all information requested by SOCU on the GRDB officials.After the Bank subsequently refused to hand over the records, its Directors were jointly charged with failing to comply with the order to produce certain named documents within seven days, to SOCU’s Head.GBTI later made an application before the acting Chief Justice to be relieved from the production of the documents on the grounds that they have either been destroyed by the applicant after the applicant’s retention period had expired, or they have been lost and cannot be found despite diligent efforts to find them.The Bank failed in its bid to be relieved from producing the documents.last_img

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