Businesswoman arrested at CJIA over undeclared US$44,000 released on self-bail

A 36-year-old South Ruimveldt woman, who was arrested by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) after failing to declare a large amount of US currency, was released on self-bail.
According to the Guyana Police Force (GPF) Public Relations Officer, Jairam Ramlakhan, statements have already been taken and the woman is required to return to SOCU’s Headquarters today.
The woman was arrested on the evening of May 4 upon arrival at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) for failing to declare to customs officials more than US$44,000 which she had in her possession.
Based on reports received, the woman arrived on a St Lucian flight at Guyana’s main port of entry with some US$44,688 in her possession. It is not clear how the woman passed security checkpoints in St Lucia with that amount of money.
Reports are that upon arrival at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, she was asked if she had anything to declare and she responded in the negative. However, customs officials discovered the foreign currency stashed in two parcels in her hand luggage during a routine check on her luggage. She was immediately pulled aside and questioned, and SOCU was quickly involved. The law stipulates that once any passenger is carrying in excess of US$10,000, the money must be declared to the relevant authorities for clearance.
Back in January 2016, jewellery belonging to a Better Hope, East Coast Demerara gold smith and valued at more than G$10million was confiscated by ranks of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). The man, Richard Ramjit, was accused by security officers of smuggling gold, but he had denied the allegation. At the time, he was then told that the jewellery was seized because it valued approximately $4M, which is in excess of US$10,000 – the threshold at which seizures can be made under amended anti-money laundering laws if there is no declaration to customs.
The CANU ranks worked in accordance with the mandate of the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), which was set up to detect crimes related to money laundering and terrorism. Ramjit has since sued the State for $10M on the basis that his fundamental rights and freedoms were breached. (Devina Samaroo)


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