$300M fraud charges against former GRDB directors thrown out

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Former Board Members of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), including two Parliamentarians of the Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP), were on Thursday freed from the charges of fraud levelled against them.

The Parliamentarians Dharamkumar Seeraj and Nigel Dharamlall, along with former Deputy General Manager of the GRDB Ricky Ramraj, former General Manager Jagnarine Singh and former board members Badrie Persaud and Prema Roopnarine were on trial.

They were taken to court on a claim that they conspired in omitting to enter different sums of money into a ledger that was deposited into the Board’s Republic Bank Account.

The six denied that in 2011 they omitted to enter a sum of $77.3M into the said ledger. Other charges read that between the years 2014 and 2015, the sums of $130M, $9.7M and $145M were respectively omitted from the GRDB register.

Former Deputy General Manager of the GRDB Ricky Ramraj

The charges were dismissed by City Magistrate Leron Daly after Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) prosecutor Lawrence Harris was absent on three consecutive hearings when he was to report on the status of the case. As such, the Magistrate had no other alternative than to dismiss the matter.

Attorneys representing the persons charged included Anil Nandlall, Priya Manickchand, Sase Gunraj and Glen Hanoman.

Badrie Persaud

In August, fraud-related charges against three former managers of GRDB were dismissed by Magistrate Daly.

On that occasion, the case was dismissed against GRDB’s former Deputy Permanent Secretary (Finance), Prema Ramanah-Roopnarine; PPP Parliamentarian, Nigel Dharamlall and former General Manager, Jagnarine Singh.

They were charged with omitting or concurring to omit from the organization’s general ledger any entries particular to the sum of $52,000,000 in the Republic Bank account for its Agriculture Life Skills programme with the intent to defraud.

Attorney-at-law Sase Gunraj, who represented Roopnarine, told the News Room that the case was dismissed on the grounds that Special Prosecutor of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), Lawrence Harris failed to prove his case against the defendants.

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