General Secretary of the Rice Producers Association (RPA), Dharamkumar Seeraj, is in talks with his family as well as his lawyers to sue the Government for the irreparable damage done to his character after facing fraud-related charges that were subsequently dismissed.
Yesterday, Guyana Standard reported that Senior Magistrate, Leron Daly dismissed four charges against Seeraj and five other officials after Special Prosecutor, Lawrence Harris was a no show.
The charges alleged that between January 1 and December 31, 2012, with intent to defraud, they omitted or concurred to be omitted $77.3M from the general ledger of the Guyana Rice Development Board’s (GRDB) Republic Bank account.
Similarly, between January 1 and December 31 of the years 2013, 2014 and 2015 with intent to defraud the entity, they omitted or concurred to be omitted from the said Republic Bank account, $9.7M, $130M and $145M for the three respective years.
The defendants were all out on $500,000 bail each pending the hearing and determination of the trial. (See link for more details on the case: https://www.guyanastandard.com/2019/10/17/no-show-of-socu-prosecutor-sees-362m-fraud-charges-being-thrown-out-against-six-former-grdb-officials/)
During an exclusive interview moments ago, Seeraj said that the case was a painful experience for his wife, two children, and other members of his immediate family.
The RPA General Secretary said, “I had no issue with them wanting to do an investigation…I know that there was no truth to what I was charged for but it is the perception others have of me that remains tainted. And this was painful for my family. I have two children. And I remember when I was first charged, I sat them down and with my wife, explained that I am innocent and what is really going on. My kids told me plain and straight not to worry, they are not ashamed of me. That was my biggest fear. But the damage was still done to my character. My family was still hurt, embarrassed by it all.”
Further to this, Seeraj said he was made to suffer more during the case when the USA revoked his visa even before the trial began. He said that this was a clear pronouncement on him being guilty and not innocent until proven to have committed a crime. The official was also told by the USA that he could not reapply for his visa until the case came to an end.
Nonetheless, Seeraj told the Guyana Standard that he is pleased that the matter has come to an end. He maintains however that it was nothing but a witch-hunt, a clear chase of discrimination and victimization.
“I was a target because of my affiliation with the PPP,” he stated.
On this note, Seeraj said that he wants to sue and is discussing the same with his family and lawyers. He believes that by suing, he may be able to prove further, his innocence in the matter.
Asked to say if he would be reapplying for his USA visa, Seeraj answered in the negative. He told this news agency that it is not a matter of priority. The Opposition Member noted however that his mother and siblings are in the USA and should they need him for an emergency, only then would he pursue the acquisition of a visa.