Six Former Board Members of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), including two People’s Progressive Party Members of Parliament, were today (Friday, May 19, 2017) charged with fraud totalling over $400 million.
The multi-million-dollar fraud at the Rice Development Board covers the period 2011 to 2015.
PPP MPs Dharamkumar Seeraj and Nigel Dharamlall, GRDB former Deputy General Manager, Ricky Ramraj, Former General Manager Jagnarine Singh and former GRDB board members Badrie Persaud and Prema Roopnarine appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan to answer to the charges.
The former GRDB Board members were slapped with five separate charges to which they were not required to plead as it was entered indictable.
They were placed on $500,000 bail each and ordered to lodge their passports.
The Court heard that the six-accused conspired to omit to enter different sums of money into a ledger that was deposited into the Board’s Republic Bank Account.
The first omission occurred in 2011 to the tune of $52 million.
The other omissions were in the sums of $77.3 million, $130 million, $9.7 million and $145 million.
PPP MPs Priya Manickchand, and Anil Nandlall along with Attorneys Sase Gunraj and Glenn Hanoman appeared on behalf of the six accused.
They asked Magistrate McLennan to not heed the prosecution’s call for exorbitant bail, lodging of passports and reporting once weekly to the Special Organized Crime Unit Headquarters.
The prosecution asked that the matter be put off to allow for the filing of additional statements while reporting that the files were substantially complete.
Magistrate McLennan, after listening to both sides, adjourned the matter until June 22.
The charges were instituted after investigations by SOCU over the last year.
The accused and their attorneys had attended several meetings at SOCU to answer questions in relation to the investigation. The Attorneys felt that based on the history of cooperation the bail and accompanying court order to lodge passports were harsh and unwarranted.