Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan and Principal Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus will be conducting the trials against former accountant at the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Peter Ramcharran, who is slapped with 39 fraud charges for alleged breaches within the independent state agency that regulates the rice industry.
The Chief Magistrate will be dealing with the 17 charges for fraudulent misappropriation and the five charges of falsification of accounts, while Magistrate Isaacs-Marcus will preside over the 17 charges of keeping fraudulent accounts.
The Chief Magistrate will commence trial on August 15 while Magistrate Isaacs-Marcus is expected to commence trial on October 22.
Ramcharran, 39, of Goedverwagting, East Coast Demerara, was charged in March 2019 after being deported from Canada where he was fighting extradition to Guyana for over two years.
Particulars of the first five charges alleged that between the years 2015 and 2011, Ramcharran, while being the accountant of GRDB, omitted to enter some $414M in the GRDB ledger.
Ramcharran was slapped with 17 charges which alleged that he along with former General Manager of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Jagnarine Singh and his deputy, Madanlall Ramraj, omitted entries into the company ledger.
The charges alleged that Ramcharran omitted to enter true entries of over $4.2M into the company’s ledger, knowing that it was contrary to standard operation procedures between 2011 and 2012, at the company’s Lot 16-17 Cowan Street, Kingston head office.
The last 17 charges alleged that Ramcharran along with Singh and Ramraj fraudulently took $5.1M or used the sum for their own use and benefit, or any use and purpose other than that of the GRDB.
The matters are being prosecuted by Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) Prosecutor, Patrice Henry.
According to information, Ramcharran is heavily implicated in the probe with regards to the six former GRDB board members who have pleaded not guilty to the allegations.
The officials charged are former General Manager of GRDB Jagnarine Singh; former Deputy General Manager of GRDB Madanlall Ramraj; General Secretary of the Producers Association (RPA), Dharamkumar Seeraj; former Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Amerindian Affairs, Nigel Dharamlall; former General Manager of the Guyana Oil Company Badrie Persaud; and the Deputy Permanent Secretary Finance Ministry of Agriculture, Prema Roopnarine.
A forensic audit, one of several ordered by the Coalition Government, had made several alarming discoveries at GRDB.
From about 2009 to 2015, Guyana, under the administrations of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic, had entered into a multi-billion-dollar oil-for-rice arrangement where GRDB was clearing out for farmers. However, millions of dollars of those monies were reportedly siphoned off via third-party arrangements, including rental of ships and other sweetheart deals for a few millers.