Former GRDB Accountant remanded on 39 fraud charges

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Former Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) Accountant Peter Ramcharran was on Wednesday slapped with 39 fraud charges following his extradition from Canada to Guyana.

Ramcharran, 39, of Goedverwagting, East Coast Demerara appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court and was not allowed to plea  to the charges,

He was remanded to prison until March 25, 2019.

He appeared in court hours after arriving in Guyana from Canada, where he has been staying for the past two years. SOCU successfully secured his extradition.

Prosecutor attached to the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) Patrice Henry told the court that an arrest warrant was issued for Ramcharran since 2017.

The Chief Magistrate said that on June 5, 2017 SOCU’s head, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Sydney James had testified that he had contacted Ramcharran via Facebook and WhatsApp.

James had disclosed that Ramcharran told him that he was fearful to return to Guyana and it was on those grounds that an arrest warrant was issued.

Particulars of the first five charges alleged that between the years 2011-2015, Ramcharran while being the Accountant of GRDB, omitted to enter some $414 million in the GRDB ledger.

Ramcharran was slapped with 17 charges for colluding with former General Manager of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Jagnarine Singh and his deputy, Madanlall Ramraj for omitting entries into the entity’s ledger.

The charges alleged that Ramcharran omitted to enter over $4.2 M into the ledger, knowing that it was contrary to standard operating procedures between 2011 and 2012, at the company’s Lot 16-17 Cowan Street, Kingston Head Office.

The last 17 charges alleged that Ramcharran along with Singh and Ramraj fraudulently took $5.1M or used it for their own use and benefit.

Ramcharran’s Attorney Sase Gunraj argued for bail on the grounds that his client is not a flight risk.

Gunraj argued that his client resigned from the GRDB in April 2016 following a demotion and went to further his studies at the Humber College in Canada.

The Attorney explained that his client was only made aware of the charges following stories in the media.

The SOCU Prosecutor objected to bail.

In June 2017, six former GRDB board members were charged with failing to record entries for funds amounting to over $400 million in total, in the agency’s general ledger, from 2011 to 2015.

Those charged were, Jagnarine Singh, former GRDB General Manager; Prema Roopnarine, former Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture; Ricky Ramraj, agricultural consultant; Badrie Persaud, business consultant; Dharamkumar Seeraj, the General Secretary of the Rice Producers Association and a PPP/C MP; and Nigel Dharamlall, also a PPP/C MP.

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