Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 7th 2013 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, June 7, 2013
Two weeks after First Citizens
Bank (FCB) asked for the return
of $2.2 million allegedly stolen
from it through fraudulent trans-
actions, a Port-of-Spain magis-
trate said she was not confident
the police could "safely and pru-
dently" look after it.
After rejecting suggestions the
money should be kept at the Cen-
tral Bank or given to FCB for safe-
keeping, Magistrate Marcia Murray
yesterday ordered that the
$2,255,890 should be deposited at
the Unit Trust Corporation (UTC).
It would be held in escrow there
in an interest-bearing account until
the court makes a further order.
Murray said the money should
be immediately deposited by and
in the name of the Clerk of the
Peace, St George West district.
FCB s attorney Sophia Chote,
SC, asked Murray to vary the order
but she refused.
Attorneys for both sides are con-
cerned about the money being put
back into circulation before the
matter has been decided.
Murray s ruling followed Chote s
application for it to be kept in an
FCB vault or lodged at the Central
Bank, a request to which Central
Bank governor Jwala Rambaran
The ruling followed two weeks
of arguments by Chote and Winter
about who should keep the money.
Reading from the eight-page
ruling, Murray said: "It may be
the commercial business of the
virtual complainant to hold bank
notes for safekeeping on behalf of
"However, the banknotes are
now the subject of ongoing crim-
inal proceedings and the applicant
is an interested party as the virtual
complainant. It may be argued that
the virtual complainant would have
no real interest in pursuing the
prosecution of the criminal charges
as they would have been restored
to their position before the com-
mission of the alleged offence.
"In the circumstances, the court
would not make an order for the
banknotes to be detained at the
virtual complainant s bank," Mur-
Chote repeated an earlier offer
by FCB to photocopy each ban-
knote before it was decided where
the money would be kept.
UTC will keep $2.2m
allegedly stolen from FCB
Deputy Police Commissioner
Mervyn Richardson has said the
investigation into the e-mail con-
troversy is progressing and he
was pleased with the work being
carried out by his officers so far.
Refusing to say more about the
status of the investigation yester-
day, Richardson reinforced earlier
statements that he would not carry
out the probe in the public
Officials said they were yet to
receive copies of Hansard records
which would end the formal part
of the investigation.
Information suggests the tech-
nical aspect would be carried out
by foreign investigators.
Acting Police Commissioner
Stephen Williams has indicated
his intent to engage an expert for
a fixed period to assist in the
Richardson said: "We are mov-
ing apace. All persons are on board
and we are progressing as we
intend to move with haste to bring
a speedy conclusion to the inves-
He said it was important to
maintain transparency throughout
as the investigation was being held
up to public scrutiny.
Issuing a brief statement during
yesterday s weekly media briefing
at the Police Administration Build-
ing, Port-of-Spain, ASP Joanne
Archie said the investigative team
was being guided by Deputy
Director of Public Prosecutions
Saying the team led by Richard-
son was actively investigating,
Archie added: "The public can rest
assured that this matter is being
thoroughly investigated and with
"Any information with respect
to this investigation that is dis-
closable will be disclosed.
"I know there is a heightened
public interest in this matter.
However, we are kindly asking that
the police be allowed to conduct
their investigation and in due
course the results will be released."
Priya Gomes, one of 30 people
afflicted with food poisoning
after attending last Thursday s
breakfast party in Maracas, was
still warded at the Port-of-Spain
General Hospital yesterday.
Admitted on Wednesday morn-
ing, Gomes, 33, said she had been
on IV fluids since then.
She said the event s organisers
had not contacted her since she
was admitted to the hospital.
Gomes and other patrons who
attended the breakfast event,
organised by AM Premium, fell
ill after consuming a menu which
included bake and saltfish, eggs,
sada roti and vegetables, pancakes,
waffles and fruit.
Saltfish has been identified as
the cause of the problem.
In a report in Wednesday s T&T
Guardian, Gomes was quoted as
saying she had diarrhoea, stomach
pains, body pains and a temper-
ature over 107.1 for three days.
Contacted yesterday, Gomes
said even though she had been
feeling better, she was still very
weak, felt light-headed and dizzy
and was suffering from a
She is no longer experiencing
stomach cramps, diarrhoea and
vomiting. Gomes said she was not
allowed to eat anything on
Wednesday or most of yesterday.
Calls to promoter Marsha
Thompson s phone went unan-
Health Minister Fuad Khan,
who promised to investigate, said
in a phone interview yesterday
the cause of the poisoning had
not been identified as yet but a
full investigation was being done
by an infection control committee
at the ministry.
The investigation, he said,
might take a while since samples
from the affected people needed
to be acquired from the private
hospitals they attended and inves-
tigators needed to make contact
with the event s caterers.
The money was seized by
the Fraud Squad on April 7
when it searched a house in
Trincity and arrested four
Hairdresser Summer Bristol,
32, of Millennium Park,
Trincity, and Shawn Davis, 39,
a sound engineer of Eric Roach
Circular Road, La Horquetta,
are jointly charged with fete
promoter Lincoln Amery
Gopeechan, 30, of Fourth
Street, Montague Avenue,
Trincity, and electrician Leon
Gomes, 38, of Spring Village,
The four are facing 23
charges of obtaining close to
$3 million from various
branches of First Citizens on
April 6 and 7.
They were each granted
$750,000 bail on April 15 but
only Bristol and Davis posted
bail. They have since fled the
country and rumours continue
to swirl that they are now in
The four are due to reappear
in court on June 14.
Richardson pleased with e-mail probe
Food poisoning victim still warded British High Commissioner Arthur Snell, right, chats with paralympian
swimmer Shanntol Ince near an exhibit of the Olympic torch at the launch of
the Equal Halves education and awareness exhibition hosted by the T&T
Paralympic Association at Nalis, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.
PHOTO: BRIAN NG FATT
EQUAL HALVES EXHIBITION
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