The Muslim scholar rape case was forwarded to Magistrate Alex Moore in February so that the paper committal proceedings could be re-opened, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) said yesterday.
In a statement, the DPP’s office said the matter of the State v. Nezaam Ali, called Mufti, for the offence of Sexual Activity with a child by Abusing a Position of Trust, had been remitted to the magistrate to be re-opened. It said that in a letter, dated February 13, 2017, DPP Shalimar Ali-Hack remitted the matter to the magistrate to re-open the paper committals. Further, it said on the same date, the DPP issued a directive to the Guyana Police Force to obtain “certified” copies of the original documents before the re-opening of the paper committals.
Subsequent to the first preliminary inquiry (PI) into the charge, which was held before Magistrate Moore, it was discovered that original documents which were tendered during the PI had gone missing from the depositions.
The DPP, the statement said, has also forwarded a report to the Minister of Social Protection Amna Ally on the case.
Ali, of 268, Section ‘C’, 5 South Turkeyen was charged in 2012 with raping nine boys.
The charges alleged that between December 2011 and January 2012, Ali, being a teacher attached to the Turkeyen Masjid, engaged in sexual activity with the children. He was placed on a total of $1,300,000 bail.
The allegations of the abuse first came to light when the Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) received an anonymous tip and officials there began an investigation that led them to the boys, who were then between the ages of four and ten.
The police were inform-ed of the situation and after the boys were examined, Ali, who was employed with the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana, was arrested, released on station bail and subsequently charged. Ali was also sent on leave, pending the outcome of the case.
He was committed to stand trial in 2014. Shortly after the committal, his lawyer Nigel Hughes, filed an action in the High Court to have the committal overturned. However, this was rejected by the court and it was ruled that the committal would remain.
It was during a visit to the Supreme Court in January this year that the mother of three of the boys and an official from the CCPA discovered that the birth certificates and medicals for the boys were missing from each of the files.
The frustrated mother had told this newspaper that it was a clerk who showed them the case files, but certain documents were not inside. Her boys are now ages 15, 13 and 11.
While fighting back tears, she had explained that it was on the insistence of a CCPA official that the collection officer (name given) at the Vigilance Court sent the files to the Supreme Court. She said that after realizing that the documents were missing, the clerk was asked what the next step was and he responded that the Regis
trar will have to make a note and send the files to the DPP. The woman said that based on her understanding the DPP would then send the files to court, but she was not told for what reason.
The DPP subsequently confirmed that the documents were indeed missing.
The mother of three of the boys has related that the police visited her home some time ago for her to sign copies of two statements. They had related that they could not find the statement for the third child.
Newly appointed ‘C’ Division Commander Calvin Brutus told this newspaper last Friday that the file is being “reconstructed” so that the matter can go before the court.
The mother of the three boys has since said that persons have been taking photographs of her sons, which she thinks is an attempt at intimidating them.