Bartica businessman on $120m fraud charge launches legal proceedings

Bartica businessman Eon Ferrier, who is before the court on a charge that he fraudulently converted $120M from Mohamed’s Enterprise given to him to buy gold, last month secured a court order to have the magistrate who was originally hearing the case show proper cause for his decision to recuse himself.

Ferrier was charged in July with the crime and since then the magistrate, Dylon Bess, who was originally assigned the case, recused himself. The matter has since been transferred to another magistrate.

Ferrier detailed the developments in the case in a statement issued last weekend, where he also noted that he was receiving threats and he believes that his life is in danger. He said the new magistrate subsequently refused an application by his attorney to have the matter ultimately determined by a judge and jury.

Eon Ferrier
Eon Ferrier

The statement said that it was based on this that the High Court was approached for prerogative orders challenging the decision of the original magistrate to recuse himself from hearing the case.

In court documents seen by this newspaper, a motion was filed by Ferrier’s lawyers on October 6 seeking two orders—a rule nisi directing Magistrate Bess to show cause why an order absolute should not be granted quashing his decision made on July 10 to recuse himself from the case; and a rule nisi directed to Magistrate Sunil Scarce to show cause why an order absolute should not be issued to prevent him from hearing the case.

On October 19th, acting Chief Justice Ian Chang granted the order in relation to Magistrate Bess. The next hearing of the matter is scheduled for later this month.

In an affidavit in support of motion, Ferrier said after being incarcerated for approximately one month, he was admitted to bail in the sum of $20M. It was stated that on the second reading of the charge, Magistrate Bess indicated to his attorneys that he was made aware of a letter sent to Chancellor Justice Carl Singh that alleged that he and Ferrier were friends. The affidavit said that the magistrate denied this and “denounced the attempts at besmirching his character in the strongest terms.”

The magistrate then recused himself and indicated that the matters will be reverted to the acting Chief Magistrate for reassignment.

Ferrier said that he was advised by his attorneys—Nigel Hughes, Roger Yearwood and Trenton Lake—that the magistrate acted without “jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction or took into consideration irrelevant considerations or abdicated his duty in arriving at the decision to recuse himself from the matter on unsubstantiated, uninvestigated and unmerited allegations.”

He stated that he was further advised that the magistrate operated in breach of the rules of natural justice in that he failed to give him a hearing on the issue. He added that there was no investigation into the allegation before the magistrate took the decision to recuse himself.

He said that on July 16, the matters were reassigned to Magistrate Scarce. The affidavit said that after hearing the submissions, the new magistrate ruled that the matter will proceed summarily–this means that there would be a trial.

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