Police probing $941M fraud at local bank

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…suspect conned gold dealers of millions

A known fraudster of Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), who has allegedly robbed and conned his colleagues of hundreds of millions of dollars over the years, is now in Police custody for ripping off a local bank of $941 million over a short period of time.

Saddiqi Rasul of SSS Minerals Inc. was a taxi driver in the mining community, but was given a break in life in the gold industry.

Saddiqi Rasul

He now has hanging over his head several pending lawsuits from businesses and gold dealers whom he had conned over the years. In fact, a few years ago, Rasul reportedly collected close to $200 million from miners and gold dealers to purchase gold, but instead converted the money to his own use. He had subsequently made an arrangement to repay the money, but that promise has never been fulfilled.

This resident of Third Avenue Bartica and of Prashad Nagar in Georgetown also owes the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) millions of dollars after an assessment was done on his operations.

Guyana Times was told that Rasul is the cousin of the man who had conned Mohamed’s Enterprise of close to $1B during a gold trading (purchasing and selling) operation.

Rasul’s cousin, Eon Ferrier, had been charged with robbing the entity. Ferrier, who supervised Mohamed’s Enterprise Office in Bartica, was charged, but denied that between June 22 and 28, 2015 he was given a large sum of cash by the company’s Managing Director, Nazar Mohamed, to purchase gold for the company but he fraudulently converted the cash to his own use and benefit.

In that case, it was alleged that Rasul had reportedly conspired with his cousin to pull off the multimillion-dollar fraud against the company. Ferrier was granted $15 million bail by the High Court.

Meanwhile, following the revelation that Rasul had defrauded the local bank of $941 million, Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum on Friday confirmed that the Police have been called in to investigate the matter.

Blanhum noted that the main culprit in the illegal transactions turned himself in at the CID Headquarters in the company of his lawyer.

The female bank manager who was fingered in the transaction was dismissed with immediate effect and is now part of the criminal probe that is underway. The fraud was pulled off at the local bank’s office at Bartica.

Based on reports received, Rasul, a gold dealer of Bartica, Region Seven, deposited $941 million in cheques into his bank account at the bank that is presently under investigation.

The cheques were, however, from another local bank, but the staff of the bank at which the cheques were deposited went ahead and effected payment without the cheques being cleared.

Guyana Times was told that managers of the two banks had colluded with Rasul to withdraw millions of dollars.
It is believe that after the manager of one of the banks realised that Rasul had used up the money for his personal use and could not repay, he closed the account.

Rasul, however, was not aware that his account was closed, and with a few remaining cheques on his hand, he went to another bank to encash same. It was during this process that bank officials realised that the cheques were bounced.

The matter reached the hierarchy of the bank and the police were called in to investigate. The bank in question has promised to release an official statement on the issue today.

Following his detention, members of the Major Crimes Unit conducted searches at his homes in Prashad Nagar, Third Avenue Bartica, and office in Kitty, Georgetown but came up empty-handed. The Police are continuing their investigation into the matter, and it is expected that more persons will be questioned. (Reprinted: Guyana Times)

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