High Court Judge Jo Ann Barlow has ordered that the sum of €24, 530, equivalent to GYD$ 6,064,554, be forfeited to the State, since it can be inferred that the monies which were concealed in cans of paints back in March, came from unspecified criminal conduct.
The announcement was made today by Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall in a statement.
The monies were found in the possession of Michael Bagot, a Guyanese national, who was intercepted at the Springlands, Berbice crossing from Suriname on March 12, 2020.
The Springlands- Berbice crossing is not the official designated immigration point of entry between Guyana and Suriname. Bagot was arrested by police for failure to present himself to the Immigration Authorities and failure to declare foreign currency over the prescribed limit set out by the Foreign Exchange (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, Chapter 86:01, Laws of Guyana.
Subsequent to his arrest, the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) approached the High Court for an interim order to detain the monies in accordance with Section 37 (2) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Act Chapter 10: 11, Laws of Guyana.
Chief Justice Roxane George, SC granted the detention order for the police to lawfully detain the currency on March 17, 2020, and the Order was further extended on June 12, 2020 for three months pending the hearing and determination of forfeiture proceedings filed by SOCU.
The Commissioner of Police, through the Chambers of the Attorney General, commenced legal proceedings for the civil forfeiture of the said sum.
Written submissions were made before Justice Barlow. The Judge eventually found that, based on the manner of concealment of the monies in paint cans, it could be inferred that the monies came from unspecified criminal conduct.
Further, Bagot failed to provide information disclosing the source of the monies. In addition, the Court noted that Bagot, had on previous occasions, exited the jurisdiction from the designated immigration point however, when he re-entered Guyana, it was through the ‘backtrack’ route.
As a consequence, Justice Barlow ordered that the sum of monies be forfeited to the State.
There was no Order as to Costs.