A former General Manager of El Dorado Trading and another man who were among four persons charged with committing a brazen $93 million gold heist in 2013, earlier this month decided to change their pleas to guilty and were sentenced to jail time by Magistrate Alex Moore.
Neville Chandrawattie, called ‘Sunil of Essequibo and Anil Dairam of Lot 52 Blairmont, West Bank Berbice threw in the towel almost three years after being charged with the crime. One changed his plea on May 9 and the other the following day.
Chandrawattie and Diaram together with Kenneth Garraway, of Lot 37 Charity Housing Scheme, Essequibo Coast and Amirullah Kuturatullah, 45, of Lot 23 Blairmont, West Bank Berbice were accused of planning the gold theft at the Port Kaituma business place on November 8, 2013.
Chandrawattie was identified as the mastermind. The case was that after plotting the robbery with the other three Chandrawattie allowed Dairam to enter the premises and hide under the bed. Later, sleeping pills were added to a co-worker’s porridge. But after the pills did not have the desired effect, the co-worker was tied up and hit on the head with the barrel of a shot gun, causing him to sustain injuries and to fall unconscious.
Chandrawattie, it was said, packed the 96 ounces of raw gold valued $22 million and $71 million and gave them to Dairam, who then made good his escape.
Stabroek News was reliably informed that Diaram was the first to charge his plea. Magistrate Moore, who was specially assigned, travelled to the Port Kaituma Court to conduct the hearings. Attorney at law Glenn Hanoman was assigned special prosecutor.
This newspaper was made to understand that on May 9 evidence was taken but Diaram changed his plea to guilty. He was slapped with four-year sentences for the robbery and wounding charges that he faced. The sentences will run currently.
The following day, before evidence could be taken, Chandrawattie decided that he too was going to change his plea to guilty; eleven witnesses were present to give evidence. He was charged with committing the robbery, wounding and possession of gun and ammunition. With regard to the first two charges he was sentenced to four years each. He was also sentenced to five years each for the other two. All sentences will run concurrently.
The other two accused will return to court on August 8 when the matter is scheduled to continue.
Chandrawattie is also facing a murder charge following a robbery committed on the same gold trading company in 2007.
It is alleged that he and others allegedly planned an armed attack carried out on the El Dorado Trading Company in Port Kaituma on April 21, 2007, during which gold and diamond dealer Dharam Chanmangra was shot in the chest and $3 million and a quantity of gold stolen.