The fraud case involving 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, was today further adjourned.
When the matter was called, Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) Prosecutor Patrice Henry, indicated to the court that on January 23, 2020, the Appeal Court entertained arguments from Ali’s lawyers in connection to why his 19 fraud charges should be quashed. Arguments were also put forward by SOCU as to why Ali should face a Preliminary Inquiry(PI) at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
The Prosecutor further told Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan that they are now awaiting a ruling by the Appeal Court and asked for the matter to be adjourned.
Ali, who stood in the prisoners’ dock was instructed to make his next court appearance on March 24, 2020, for report and fixture.
Ali’s lawyer Devindra Kissoon had indicated that a Fixed Date Application was filed before Justice Franklin Holder, requesting that the charges be quashed.
Ali is accused of selling state 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 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 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.
The charges against Ali came months after SOCU, an arm of the police force, 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.