Trini in fake kidnap plot remanded

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Thirty – three – year – old Sawak Maraj, a Trinidadian national, who allegedly staged his own kidnapping in Guyana and demanded US$700,000 in ransom from his family was remanded to prison on Tuesday, October 31, 2017.

Maraj, who claims to be a Chemical Engineer, appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court and denied the charges of giving the police wrong information and conspiracy to commit a felony.

Particulars of the first charge alleged that on October 27, 2017, in Georgetown, Maraj knowingly gave false information to the police, stating that he was kidnapped and his abductors demanded US$700,000 for his release.

It is further alleged that on the same day at Madewini Resort on the Linden/Soesdyke Highway, Maraj conspired with other persons in assisting to negotiate to obtain a ransom of US$700,000.

Attorney for Maraj, Nirvan Singh told the court that his client was made a victim twice by the police. The attorney further stressed that if granted bail, his client will be staying at the Marriott Hotel to await trial into the matter.

Police Prosecutor, Arwin Moore objected to Maraj being released on bail based on the fact that he is not a Guyanese National and is a flight risk. Moore further added that the two men who reportedly assisted Maraj in staging the kidnapping are currently on the run and have been blacklisted at the airports in Guyana and Trinidad.

As such, the Magistrate remanded him until November 16, 2017. According to reports, on the day in question, relatives of the Maraj were contacted by unknown persons via phone who indicated that their son was in custody in Guyana and that a sum of money was later demanded for his release.

Maraj arrived in Guyana earlier that day on a Caribbean Airlines Flight and while a booking was made for him at the Ramada Princess Hotel, he never checked in there.

As part of the plan to stage the kidnapping, Maraj told his parents and detectives here that he came to Guyana to attend an interview for potential employment.

It turned out that two other Trinidadian Nationals, who are associated with Maraj and part and parcel of the plot, arrived in Guyana on Wednesday and after clearing immigration, they checked in at the Madewini Resort.

The taxi driver who picked them up at the airport told detectives that when he was hired by the men, they requested to be taken to that location. Once there, the taxi driver and the men exchanged telephone numbers. The Trinidadians told the taxi driver that they had another colleague who would be arriving in the country on Friday and they provided him with details.

Once Maraj arrived, he joined the taxi willingly, having been briefed by his fellow countrymen; he was taken straight to the Madewini resort where he joined the two men.

The police managed to crack the case after reviewing CCTV footage from the airport and were able to acquire the license plate of the taxi driver. Contact was made with the driver of the car and he willingly cooperated with the police and took them to the location where he took the men. Police found Maraj there alone and sitting in comfort.

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