People’s Progressive Party’s (PPP) presidential candidate Irfaan Ali, who is slapped with 19 fraud charges involving state lands that he allegedly sold to high ranking officials, will make his next appearance on August 26 following another adjournment.
Ali, who has 19 charges against him in connection with the Pradoville Two case in which he allegedly sold 19 state lands, had his matter called in the courtroom of Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan. Ali, who was present in court, was seated in the prisoners’ dock.
His lawyer Devindra Kissoon addressed the court and indicated that a Fixed Date Application was filed before Justice Franklin Holder, requesting that the charges be quashed. According to Kissoon, Justice Holder has indicated that notices for decision will be sent by July 15 since he proceeds on leave the following day and returns in October. Therefore, the magistrate will have to await the High Court’s decision on the legality of the criminal charges.
As a result, SOCU Prosecutor Patrice Henry asked the Chief Magistrate to adjourn the matter to a later date. The matter comes up for hearing on August 26 before the Chief Magistrate.
Ali is accused of selling the lands to former President Bharrat Jagdeo, Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon; former ministers Priya Manickchand, Dr. Jennifer Westford, Robert Persaud and Clement Rohee, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack; and former army Head Gary Best.
He also allegedly sold the lands to former General Manager of the Guyana Gold Board, who is the daughter of former President Donald Ramotar, Lisaveta Ramotar.
Former President of the Private Sector Commission, Ramesh Dookhoo; son of former Labour Minister Dr. Nanda Gopaul, Dr. Ghansham Singh; former Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) Chief Executive Officer, Rajendra Singh; former President of the the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Guyana, Compton Bourne; Andrew Bishop, former Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission; Safraaz Khan; and George Halla were also cited as recipients of plots of land.
It is alleged that Ali, between 2011 and 2015, conspired with persons unknown to defraud the Government of Guyana by acting recklessly when he sold 19 plots of land at Plantation Sparendaam and Goedverwagting.
The 38-year-old was not required to make a plea to any of the 19 indictable matters after they were read to him.
The charges against Ali come months after SOCU completed its investigation into the allocation of lands at ‘Pradoville Two’ to Cabinet members of the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic Administration and their close associates.
It was reported that Ali personally handled the transactions of the State Lands to his friends of the PPP/C’s former Cabinet members.
A forensic audit was conducted which revealed that the recipients grossly underpaid for the lots by a total of nearly $250M. It was stated that of the 28 lots totalling 12.1187 acres, only 3.9693 acres remain unallocated.