No further complaints made by SOCU over GBTI documents – counsel

The Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) at a hearing before the acting Chief Justice on Friday, made no further complaints of documents provided by the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) being insufficient in its US$500 million Guyana Rice Development Board probe.

Speaking with Stabroek News after the in-chamber hearing, Senior Counsel Ralph Ramkarran who is representing the bank, said it seems SOCU, after checking, now realizes that it has been sufficiently supplied with the documents requested.

SOCU had repeatedly complained of not being provided with all documents asked for, while the bank’s contention has been that it had supplied everything SOCU has asked for.

According to Ramkarran, the bank has responded to all complaints raised by SOCU, and has even resubmitted files it had already released to the SOCU—those documents he said, are in excess of 12,000.

Ramkarran said not only has the Attorney General’s Chambers by whom SOCU is represented, not raised the issue of sufficiency of documents, but it also did not raise previous issues of the method of certification of the documents.

SOCU had previously argued, that among documents they received, there were some which were not properly certified.

The bank has been given leave to file submissions on the meaning of bankers’ books.

Ramkarran had said that the bank is not required to supply such category of documents. SOCU will then reply to those submissions.

The matter has been adjourned to February 26, 2018 for reports before Justice Roxane George, SC.

In previous addresses to the court, the bank had said, among other things, that it could not produce some of the documents since they had already been destroyed as their retention period had expired.

After so initially indicating however, GBTI, at an October 20 hearing, was granted two weeks by the chief justice to find the documents.

On November 16 last, attorney Ramkarran reported that the documents were located and handed over to SOCU.

The bank had failed in its bid to have the chief justice grant an interim stay of all further proceedings against its chairman and directors who were placed before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan on November 6 to answer contempt charges.

The contempt charges were instituted by SOCU after the bank allegedly failed to make available, the documents requested for the probe.

The initial production order was made by Justice George on August 29.

SOCU is being represented by the Solicitor General and attorney Leslyn Noble.

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