– Nandlall dismisses charges as frivolous, maliciousBy Ramona LuthiSix persons were on Thursday afternoon summoned by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) for questioning in relation to the Guyana Rice Development Board’s (GRDB’s) operations during the years 2011 to 2015. They were later charged and bailed for fraudulent omission of records in regard to the lucrative PetroCaribe Fund.The former GRDB officials making their way to SOCU headquarters, accompanied by their lawyers on ThursdayThe six are former GRDB General Manager Jagnarine Singh; former Deputy GRDB General Manager Rickey Ramraj; Badrie Persaud of the Guyana Oil Company; former Deputy Permanent Secretary (Finance) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Prema Roopnarine; PPP Parliamentarian Nigel Dharamlall; and head of the Rice Producers Association, Dharamkumar Seeraj.Guyana Times was told that each of these persons had received a telephone call informing them that they were being charged, and instructing that they report to the Special Organised Crime Unit’s (SOCU’s) Headquarters. They were not immediately told of their offence, but after several hours of interrogation by SOCU officials, they were then transported to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to have their fingerprints taken, before being taken to the Brickdam Police Station to be charged and placed on station bail.They are all expected to be arraigned in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts today, Friday, May 20 2017.While none of them was allowed a chance to interact with the media, former Attorney General Anil Nandlall, representing some of them, explained that the charges “concerned the failure to make certain entries in relation to monies received through a foreign-funded project.”He described the situation as “harassment”, and advised the affected persons to sue the state for compensation, since, he said, he believes the matter is frivolous and he is certain that no conviction would be made therefrom.“Public monies have to be better spent! This (that) you’re seeing here is costing the state millions of dollars. This will have to go to court; it will take months in the court and it will never yield a conviction; and a properly advised person charged in these circumstances would be advised to sue the state for compensation, because this is nothing short of malicious prosecution,” Nandlall told media operatives.The former AG also lamented that there was no evidence to support claims that the six persons had intended to commit fraud by the omission of records.“There is no evidence that this money was missing; that the money was not spent for the purpose for which it was disbursed. In fact, the money was spent for the purpose for which it was disbursed,” he explained.Nandlall criticised SOCU for levelling charges against these six persons in regard to the omission of “a ceremonial entry into the record.” He said the accountants should rather have been charged.“Absolute nonsense! This is absolute harassment! Why is it that [they’re] putting people through this ordeal: damaging their character, putting their family and them through anguish and through suffering just because (they) have the power to do so?” he questioned.During the early part of 2017, it had been reported that false and misleading statements were being sent to the Governments of Guyana and Venezuela by the former General Manager of the GRDB in order to obtain monies from the PetroCaribe Fund. The fund was established almost a decade ago, when Venezuela introduced an oil sale arrangement wherein Guyana and a number of CARICOM and Latin America countries took oil at concessionary rates, paid a percentage in advance and protracted payment of the balance over a 20-year period. The PetroCaribe Fund was supposed to hold millions of US dollars.Inconsistencies in this Fund was just one of several financial irregularities highlighted by Nigel Hinds Financial Services in the forensic audit it had done for the period 2011 to 2015.Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman had noted that, based on the audit report, millions of dollars had passed through the accounting unit of the GRDB. He highlighted that the “glaring” financial irregularities uncovered by the auditors had no “no traceable signs that (they) were ever approved”.
A man who butchered and killed a young Letterkenny woman has been released from prison just eight years into his 12 year sentence for another crime.Callous Conor Downey, 47, murdered innocent Suzanne Reddan in a London flat they shared in 1988.She was not found until 1992 after Downey confessed to police in England that he had strangled her. Parts of her body were discovered but her torso was never found.Downey served just three years in jail for the horrific murder of the young Donegal woman.When he left jail he returned to his native Cork.In 2004, Downey was then sentenced to 12 years in jail after being found guilty of attempted rape and indecent assault of a young woman.Just a few months after Downey strangled Suzanne Reddan in 1988, he broke into the Cork woman’s home and attacked her as she lay sleeping.He beat her so savagely that gardaí thought she was wearing a horror mask. He also attempted to rape and sexually assault her.Downey was never charged with this crime and returned to Cor in the 1990s.In 2000 however, 11 years after the sexual assault on the Cork woman, he was linked to the crime using fingerprint and DNA samples.Superintendent Brian Calnan told the Central Criminal Court that Downey was also convicted of assaulting a doctor who had collected blood samples from him.In January 2004 Mr Justice Kevin O’Higgins jailed Downey for 12 years. He suspended the final year of the sentence.Downey was released form prison last November and is living in Douglas, Co Cork.© 2011 donegaldaily.com, all Rights ReservedThe copying, republication or redistribution of donegaldaily.com Content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited by law.Follow us on www.twitter.com/donegaldailyFollow us on www.facebook.com/donegaldailySell anything on www.donegaldailyclassifieds.comFREED: MAN WHO MURDERED YOUNG DONEGAL WOMAN IS BACK ON THE STREETS was last modified: January 17th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Conor DowneyletterkennySuzanne Reddan