Irfaan Ali released, faces 19 counts of fraud

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Embattled Parliamentarian and former Housing Minister under the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) administration, Irfaan Ali appeared before Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court Wednesday morning where he faced 19 counts of fraud allegations in relation to the sale of lands to PPP officials while in office.

Ali was not required to plea to the charges which alleged that between 2010-2015 he conspired with persons unknown to defraud the Government of Guyana when he recklessly presented the value of 19 plots of lands at Sparendaam, East Coast Demerara without obtaining a valuation.

Ali was arrested by a truckload of Police at his Georgetown residence at 4:30am Wednesday and taken to the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) where he was questioned and subsequently taken to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to answer the charges.

Prosecutor for SOCU, Patrice Henry asked the Magistrate to place Ali on substantial bail in order to guarantee his appearance in court but the Parliamentarian’s lawyers objected on the grounds that the accused has been cooperating with SOCU since the commencement of its investigation.

The Magistrate then released Ali on self-bail and the case is adjourned to January 7, 2019.

Ali is represented by attorneys Devendra Kissoon, Jaya Manickchand, Priya Manickchand, Anil Nandlall and Sase Gunraj.

Former top government officials, including former President Bharrat Jagdeo, were hauled into SOCU for questioning last year in relation to the acquisition of the prime seaside house lots, which blew up in a scandal commonly known as Pradoville 2.

SOCU launched a probe into this and other issues highlighted in forensic audit reports which were handed down from Cabinet.

The present administration has been on record condemning this elite housing development and has deemed the transaction criminal because the lands were sold below market value.

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