Two Nigerian nationals yesterday pleaded not guilty to the charges of illegal entry, conspiracy to commit a felony and document forgery when they appeared before Acting Chief Magistrate Melissa Robertson at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court.
It is alleged that between March 15 and March 25 at Essequibo, James Stephaney, 37, a construction worker whose Guyana address was given as El Dorado Village, West Coast Berbice, and Steady Ayo, 31, also a construction worker of the same address, entered Guyana illegally by sea and disembarked without the consent of an immigration officer.
During the same period at Georgetown, Ayo allegedly conspired with a person or persons unknown to forge one Guyana driver’s licence in order that it may be used as the genuine thing.
On March 25 at Essequibo, Stephaney is alleged to have uttered to a Police Constable one forged Guyana passport knowing same to be false or forged.
Attorney-at-law Deborah De Santos who represented the defendants made a bail application which was subsequently refused.
According to Police Corporal Munilall Seetaram, the two accused had travelled from Trinidad to Guyana and were on their way to neighbouring Brazil when the bus in which they were passengers was stopped and checked by police ranks and their documents were examined and seen to be false.
Seetaram further added that the passports possessed by the defendants had been stolen from the Central Immigration Office in 2006. At this point, De Santos argued, “How would my clients have known that there was corruption at the Immigration Office in 2006?”
The duo was denied bail and remanded to prison until March 30.