Legal Affairs Ministry’s librarian testifies in law report fraud trial

The librarian at the Ministry of Legal Affairs on Thursday testified that she received one Commonwealth Law Report from the company LexisNexis in June, 2015, which was after former Attorney General Anil Nandlall left office.

Lana Bess made the disclosure at the continuation of the trial of Nandlall, who is charged with fraudulently converting over $2 million in Commonwealth Law Reports that were allegedly the property of the Ministry of Legal Affairs.

The charge against the accused states that between May 8, 2015 and May 29, 2015, at Georgetown, being a bailee and Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs and having 14 Law Reports of the Commonwealth, valued at $2,313,853 and property of the Ministry of Legal Affairs, he fraudulently took or converted the reports to his own use and benefit.

When the matter was called before trial magistrate Fabayo Azore, Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) prosecutor Patrice Henry called Bess to the stand. Bess, who has been employed with the Ministry of Legal Affairs as a librarian for 20 years, outlined her functions to the court. Her duties include ensuring that all books are entered into the assessor’s ledger. She further noted that when books come into the ministry, they first go to the Permanent Secretary or the accounts department, then to the stores clerk and, finally, to the library.

On June 2, 2015, Bess noted that she received one Law Report of the Commonwealth, 2015, Volume 2, from the stores clerk Daniel Persaud and she signed for it in the immediate use book. The book, she noted, was from the company LexisNexis.

She was subsequently subjected to cross-examination by Nandlall’s lawyer, Neil Boston SC.

Under cross-examination, Bess stated that she had no personal knowledge of the other law reports and that books that she would have entered into the assessor’s register were from the Ministry of Legal Affairs.

Assistant Superintendent of Police Kendarnauth Bejaimal also testified and was later cross-examined by the other defence attorney, Glenn Hanoman.

The matter was subsequently adjourned until September 14.


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