A taxi driver was on Wednesday charged with defrauding a couple of $2.4M in the sale of a house, after introducing them to a woman claiming to be a Housing Ministry official that could help with the purchase.
The allegation against Cecil Davis is that between May 8 and July 19 at Georgetown, he, by false pretence, obtained from Regan James and Candice Sealey, the sum of $2.4M with intent to defraud.
Davis, 30, of 1542 Diamond Housing Scheme, was not required to enter a plea to the indictable charge when it was read to him by Magistrate Fabayo Azore at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court and he was granted $750,000 bail.
Prosecutor Ramsahoye Rambajue explained to the court that the file and investigations are still incomplete and as a result the prosecution is not yet ready to apply the Administration of Justice Act (AJA), which allows for a plea to the charge.
Meanwhile, when asked, the investigating rank informed the court that investigations should be completed in two weeks.
The prosecution’s case so far is that the virtual complainants (VCs) are business people, who operate a dredge in the interior and use a particular taxi driver to transport them around whenever they are in Georgetown.
On May 8, when they travelled to Georgetown, however, the driver was unavailable and so he contacted Davis to make the trips instead, the court heard.
Rambajue said that in the course of conversation, the complainants expressed interest in buying a house and Davis told them that he knew someone who could assist them with that purchase.
According to Rambajue, Davis told the complainant’s that he knew an “Angela,” who works at the Ministry of Housing and could assist them.
“Angela”, the prosecutor said, was contacted that same day and took the VCs to the back of Eccles, where she showed them two houses that she said belonged to the Ministry and were up for sale.
The court heard that the complainants made an initial downpayment of $1M to “Angela” on one of the houses and she later notified them that she needed a further $400,000 to commence processing of documents to effect the sale.
Sometime after the sums were handed over, Rambajue said, “Angela” requested a further payment of $1M.
The prosecutor said that time passed but the house was never handed over to the complainants.
The matter was subsequently reported to the police and Davis was arrested and charged.
The prosecutor objected to the accused being admitted bail, saying that additional charges are likely to be laid against him.
He also contended that if granted bail, there is a likelihood that Davis would not return to stand trial.
But Davis’ attorney successfully retained his client’s pre-trial liberty after arguing that he could not see why his client was charged and not “Angela”, who seemed to have been the mastermind of the entire transaction.
He argued too that the offence is bailable and suggested that conditions can be attached to the bail for his client to perhaps lodge his passport with the police and report to a police station as the prosecution sees fit.
When asked by the court if the police knew who “Angela” is and if any contact was made with her, the prosecutor responded in the negative.
After hearing submissions on both sides, the magistrate granted the attorney’s request and informed Davis that he would be granted bail to the tune of $750,000.
The father of one was additionally ordered to lodge his passport and report to the Criminal Investigation Department every Friday.
The case continues on August 12.