The six former Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB) members charged with failing to record entries for funds amounting to over $250 million in the agency’s general ledger were on Tuesday served statements in relation to the matter.
Former GRDB General Manager Jagnarine Singh, former Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Agriculture Prema Roopnarine, agricultural consultant Ricky Ramraj, business consultant Badrie Persaud, General Secretary of the Rice Producers Association and PPP/C MP Dharamkumar Seeraj and PPP/C MP Nigel Dharamlall were all read various charges at their arraignment in May before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan.
During a hearing on Tuesday, a Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) prosecutor requested that the all the matters be heard as one. This request was granted by the Chief Magistrate, who then adjourned the matter to July 31 and transferred it to Magistrate Leron Daly.
It is alleged that with intent to defraud, Singh, Roopnarine, Dharamlall and Ramraj, between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011, at Lot 116 to 117 Cowan Street, Kingston, being members of the GRDB, a body corporate, omitted or concurred in omitting from the organisation’s general ledger any entries particular to the sum of $52,000,000 in the Republic Bank account for its Agriculture Life Skills Programme.
Three other charges of a similar nature have also been laid against Roopnarine, Persaud, Seeraj, and Ramraj for the sum of $9,724,082, $1,045,000 and $130,000,000 for varying periods between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2015.
All six accused were also read a joint charge relating to the sum of $77,333,199 for the period between January 1 and December 31, 2012.
They have pleaded not guilty to the charges.