Republic Bank Limited (Guyana) is set to take legal action against the controversial Kaieteur News media outlet following the publication of two misleading articles that implicated the commercial bank in questionable activities linked to money laundering.
According to a news article published in today’s Guyana Times newspaper, Republic Bank is demanding that Kaieteur News issue an apology and retraction of the articles published and in addition pay $5 million in damages.
However, Kaieteur News Publisher Glenn Lall has indicated that he has no intention of complying with the commercial banking institution’s request.
Guyana Times reported that when it contacted Lall for a comment on the matter, he pointed the newspaper in the direction of the satirical “Dem Boys Seh” column in Kaieteur News which surmised that the media outlet will not take the Bank’s threat seriously.
According to the column, “Dem boys ain’t know wha dem saying sarry for or wha dem must pay $5 million for… Dem boys get so much of threat in dem lifetime that dem don’t know wha fuh tek serious and wha fuh mek joke.”
The commentary then deduced that the threat “got to be a joke”. It went on to say that if Republic Bank was serious about the money, then its legal representatives should “come to de Waterfalls paper Monday morning, bright and early”.
Meanwhile, Republic Bank said it will proceed with legal action if the Kaieteur News failed to comply with the demand after January 16.
In the first article published under the headline “SARU probes local Bank accused of money laundering”, the newspaper alleged that the State Assets Recovery Unit (SARU) is probing money laundering activities at the local Bank following reports of “a huge deposit of $82,068,617 (that) was effected to the bank account of a sitting Government Minister on June 16, 2011” without the knowledge of the account holder.
The article further mentioned that Precision Woodworking Limited (PWL) Managing Director, Minister Ronald Bulkan, had written the Bank’s external auditor, Christopher Ram, in June 2014 informing him that he (Bulkan – the account holder) was in possession of information that could prove the deposit of $82,068,617 was effected by Haresh Narine “Chinee” Sugrim, the proprietor of Guy-Trac.
The second article, headlined “Probe into money laundering by SARU: No evidence of wrongdoing by Republic Bank — says Central Bank”, published the statement of the Central Bank but according to Republic Bank, Kaieteur News still defended its untrue statements.
Following the publication of the article, Republic Bank and Central Bank both issued statements condemning the media entity for publishing such spurious information.
Businessman Sugrim also came forth to deny the allegations.
“Not me. That’s a lie. I would be glad if somebody could give that kind of money now. The only money I deposit in my account are monies in relation to my business that has to do with supplies,” he revealed.
Chartered Accountant Ram also denied the allegations made in the Kaieteur news article.
“Ram & McRae wishes to make it very clear that the firm was never provided with any proof of any deposit of $82,068,617 to any account holder of Republic Bank Limited, including Precision Woodworking Limited,” he said in the statement.