State vehicles file with DPP

The police have completed their probe into the recently unearthed scheme to transfer several vehicles owned and used by the Ministry of Public Service into the names of individuals including the former minister Dr. Jennifer Westford, according to Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum who says that the file is now with the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Blanhum told Stabroek News yesterday afternoon that earlier in the day investigators completed their work following which they compiled a file and dispatched same to the DPP.

An official of the DPP’s Chambers has since confirmed that the file has been received.

According to Blanhum, police have gotten statements from all the persons involved in the probe.

Two employees of the Ministry were sent on leave to facilitate the investigation which has put Westford, Wayne Walker, Delroy Lewis, Gary Beaton (who is said to be Westford’s spouse) and Osbert Mc Pherson in the spotlight.

A document dated April 14, 2015, which was addressed to Khurshid Sattaur, Commissioner General of GRA, was sent to the revenue body requesting the transfer of registration for a number of vehicles into their name.

Meanwhile, Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan in an invited comment just before the start of Parliament yesterday told reporters that based on what he has been seeing in the press there should be criminal charges.

“I hope, I hope so because the fact that they might have given information only goes towards litigations”, he said, when asked about the institution of criminal charges.

He noted that he has his views on the issue and he rather suspects that “they should be charged.”

Ramjattan later made it clear that he would not interfere in the police’s investigation.

Based on the information gathered by this newspaper the scheme was unearthed when Sattaur wrote to Ally on June 10, 2015 requesting that he reissue the letter requesting the vehicle transfers. Sattaur wrote that the GRA “has the policy of not granting requests for transfers occurring before the new government took office, unless a letter is issued during the current administration.” David Granger was sworn in as president on May 16.

In a June 15, 2015 response, Ally wrote, “Please be informed that the request for transfer of the vehicles as listed in letter of April 14, 2015 should be withdrawn. I further wish to advise that to the best of my knowledge no documentation relative to the sale of the said vehicles had been seen.”

Earlier, Ally had written a letter to Westford asking about the whereabouts of several vehicles including a $9M Kia which was bought in 2013. This newspaper has learnt that that vehicle was bought for Westford’s use.

 

Minister of State Joseph Harmon has said that that vehicle as well as those central to the probe have since been returned. He revealed too that there are a large number of vehicles outstanding including 28 which were transferred into private hands on a single day in May.

Westford has opted to refrain from publicly defending herself, telling this newspaper that she is media shy.

Of the remaining four, Lewis is the only one who has spoken publicly.

The man who is employed at the Ministry as a driver has professed his innocence. He is currently on leave and is scheduled to return to work on Monday.

He went as far as to explain that the vehicle to which his name is being attached is the one he used for work- related purposes. He said the vehicle was returned on June 8th to the ministry, the day he proceeded on his 21 days’ vacation leave.

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