A 40-year-old woman accused of a $9M fraud was yesterday remanded to prison when she appeared before Acting Chief Magistrate Melissa Robertson to answer to 31 charges of obtaining money on the pretence that she could provide house lots.
It is alleged that between January 18 and March 29, 2010; Chandrawattie Sedharie, a housewife of 201 Area ‘B’ Grass Field Lusignan, East Coast Demerara obtained from Safia Khan the sum of $9.4m which was collected from Euster Ragobeer, Wasir Khan, Rafick Houssain, Yougrasanie Ram, Rohan Seetaram, Vic Ramsingh, Jovanie Singh, Navindra Singh, Hemchandra Daily, Gangaram Baichand, Suraj Lallchand, Taijnaught Das, Oma Das, Ramnaught Gewanram, Indranie Nandram, Bibi Seymore, Ravi Goberdan, Vidyanand Ramgobin, Mennie Persaud, Vidya Poonwansie, Alan Razack, Mohamed Ishmael, Shafick Toolsie, Balkissoon Singh, Baijnaught Balgobin, Padmini Ramkellawan, Rehanna Jettoo, Darshanie Louchand and Shatrika Sugrim.
The charge read that Sedharie falsely pretended that she was employed by the Ministry of Housing and was in a position to obtain house lots for the said persons at Mon Repos, and Hope, East Coast Demerara as well as Eccles, East Bank Demerara knowing same to be untrue.
The woman pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to her by the Acting Chief Magistrate at the Georgetown court.
Attorney-at-law Euclin Gomes who represented the defendant made an unsuccessful attempt to secure bail on her behalf. In his application for bail the attorney told the court that his client is innocent of the charges for which she stands accused. He said that she was placed on $50,000 station bail and has been reporting to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) every Tuesday as was required of her by the police. This commitment the Lawyer said attests to the fact that his client poses no risk of flight, has no previous antecedents, has been cooperating with the police and is thus eager to vindicate herself of the charges levelled against her.
Gomes in his address to the court asked the Magistrate not to be swayed by the quantum of the charges but rather to pay attention to th4e fact that the charge is a bailable one. Gomes went on to tell the court that his client’s family is of meagre means, listing her husband as a low-income -earning carpenter.
“My worship, please place my client on reasonable bail, a sum that they can actually afford,” the lawyer requested.
Police Prosecutor Stephen Telford however objected to the bail application made by the attorney stating that the court should take into consideration the quantum of the charges. He added also that if granted bail there is a possibility that the defendant may want to flee the jurisdiction.
In giving the facts of the case, Telford said that the accused had employed one Safia Khan to act on her behalf to collect the monies from people after persuading them that she would obtain house lots on their behalf. The virtual complainants, he added, just happened to have been the ones who fell prey to the scheme. He then asked that the matter be transferred to the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court for statements.
Only five of the 31 virtual complainants were present at court. The prosecutor apologised to the court for the absence of the others, explaining that they were not informed that they were required to attend court yesterday.
When given a chance to speak, only two of the virtual complainants responded. Mennie Persaud explained to the court that all she is interested in is being repaid the $108,000 which she had given to the defendant in return for a house lot.
Oma Kumarie Das explained that she had borrowed the $408,000 she had given to the defendant and as a result would like to be repaid also.
“Meh worship, I borrow the money from somebody to give to this lady and I need it back so that I can give back the person deh money.”
The mother of three was later remanded to prison. Her matter was transferred to the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court for August 30 for statements.