SOCU charges dismissed against former GRDB executives

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Former GRDB General Manager, Jagnarine Singh

The sixteen charges instituted against former General Manager of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Jagnarine Singh and his deputy, Madanlall Ramraj by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) was on Tuesday dismissed following a no case submission by attorney for the duo.

The matter was fixed to continue before Principal Magistrate, Judy Latchman at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts however, two final witnesses to be called by SOCU, Keshwanand Seetaram and Special Superintendent of Police, attached to SOCU, Sheronie James were not present.

As a result of this development, defence attorney in the case, Glenn Hanoman made an application for SOCU to close its case.

SOCU’s Prosecutors, Hewley Griffith and Lawrence Harris however, argued that there were several developments in the case that they were unaware of and as such they requested additional time to consult with the Department of Public Prosecution (DPP).

Madanlall Ricky Ramraj

This request was however turned down by Magistrate Latchman who ordered that the special prosecutors close their case.

Hanoman quickly moved for a no case submission stating that SOCU failed to establish its case, which alleged that his clients breached operating procedures.

After careful consideration of both the arguments of the defence and prosecution, Latchman stated that a prima facie case had not been made out against Singh and Ramraj and as such dismissed the charges levelled against them.

The 16 charges previously against them alleged that between 2011 and 2012, at Lot 16-17 Cowan Street, Kingstown, they omitted to enter, or to make full and true entries of over $4.2 million into the company’s ledger, contrary to standard operation procedures.

Subsequent allegations detailed that the accused fraudulently took, or applied to their own use and benefit, other than for the use and purpose of GRDB, a total of $4.2 million.

However, the political Opposition had long expressed, strongly their opinion that SOCU is being used as a tool to continue the witch hunting of political opponents, and it’s being diverted from its intended purpose.

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