One of the defendants in the Valentine’s Day $70M liquor bust held a gun and a Carib beer in his hands while instructing the others what to do, the driver of a Canter truck hired to transport some of the items told the Providence Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
Cecil Gregory Bumbury, the owner and driver of an enclosed Canter truck, GJJ 6259, who hires it out for a living, testified as the case continued before Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry.
On trial are Joseph Sahadeo of 168 Industry, Mark Chandra of Eccles, Shawn Ali of 2280 Diamond, Madhu of 36 Public Road, La Grange, Vinod Bhagwandin, Krishendat Ramdin and Umbar Angad who had pleaded not guilty to dealing with goods with intent to defraud the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) of duties and being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of Customs import duties. The case proceeded against the seven men as Delroy Neil Samaroo is still at large.
Bumbury, the second witness called by GRA prosecutor Gino Persaud, testified that on February 13 he was looking for a job and received information to go to the Demerara Harbour Bridge “for a hire”. He said that this was about 7:30 pm and upon arrival there, he met three persons. He identified Sahadeo as the only one of the trio who was in court yesterday and stated that Sahadeo said that he needed a hire and inquired as to what the cost from Land of Canaan to Atlantic Ville would be. Bumbury said that he told him that it would be $20, 000 and he agreed. He said that Sahadeo told him that he would be transporting “some goods” and didn’t give him an “advance” but he took $2,000 to buy snacks for his porters.
Bumbury recounted that a grey, “older model” bus was parked in front of his Canter and Sahadeo told him to follow it and he complied. He recalled that there were about three persons in the bus, which he drove behind to Land of Canaan. He stated that upon arrival there the bus turned right, towards the river and a gate opened and both vehicles went into the compound. “I did not know which compound it was,” he said. The witness stated that after driving into the compound at about 10 pm, he parked the vehicle for about an hour and then Sahadeo told him to drive closer to the river. He recalled observing three vehicles; an orange bus, a white Canter and a yellow Canter, and the white Canter was being loaded. He said he saw some Heineken and Red Bull being placed into the almost full truck and “I saw another man with a firearm and a Carib beer.” He pointed to Chandra, identifying him as the person with the gun and stated that he was instructing the persons there what to do. He said that there were some houses in the compound and they had lights and he was 100% certain that Chandra was the man he saw that night and there is no likelihood of him being mistaken. He declared that he did not speak to Chandra.
Bumbury said that Sahadeo told him that when the vehicle was finished loading, he should go into the same position and “load up” and he complied. He said that the items were being loaded from a boat, whose name he did not observe, to the wharf and unto his vehicle, a process which took about 1 hour to 1