GBTI hands over documents for Guyana World Cup Inc probe

-SOCU says full request not met

The Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) last Wednesday produced what it says are documents requested by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) for the accounts of Guyana World Cup Inc. for a money laundering probe.

However, SOCU has said that only some of the documents requested were handed over.

Some weeks ago, acting Chief Justice Roxane George ordered the Bank to produce the documents for the accounts of the Guyana World Cup Inc, after losing its application to the court to deny the agency’s request.

Attorney for the financial institution, Stephen Fraser, reported to the court last Wednesday that the order was complied with, and that all documents requested had been handed over.

While confirming receipt of documents, however, counsel for SOCU Leslyn Noble told the court that the order could not be regarded as being fully complied with, as only some of the documents asked for had been produced.

An in-chamber hearing for reports is now set for April 9th.

SOCU has until February 22nd to file its affidavit in defence. Thereafter, the bank has no later than March 8 to file its responses, if needed.

With the Guyana World Cup Inc., named a suspect, in relation to money laundering and other offences, an application was made on December 6th, 2017 by Assistant Commissioner of Police Sydney James for an order under section 12(1) of the Evidence Act for delivery to SOCU of certified copies of statement(s) of accounts, withdrawal slips, deposit slips, loans and any other credit facilities.

Additionally, the police requested the production of applications to facilitate accounts or any transaction, whether approved or not; details of any safe deposit box current or closed, wire transfers, mortgages, manager’s cheques and details of all signatories to each account of the World Cup Inc., providing specimen signatures for each in hard and soft copies.

The police had also asked for documents of any related business accounts held by the World Cup Inc., jointly, individually or separately, for the period November 1st, 2006 to December 31st, 2016.

According to SOCU, the information is required for the purpose of evidence in the “matter or cause,” regarding the money laundering inquiry.

The bank, however, had argued that it is under no obligation to produce all the documents requested by the SOCU as there exists no legal proceeding, in relation to the Guyana World Cup Inc.

It had pointed out that section 21 of the Evidence Act provides that “on the application of any party to cause or matter, a court or judge may order that the party is at liberty to inspect copies of any entries in a banker’s book for any of the purposes of that cause or matter.”

Referencing section 12(1) of the Act, GBTI argued further, that a “cause or matter,” refers to an existing legal proceeding, while noting that no such proceeding exists, or has been proved in the application by James, in relation to Guyana World Cup Inc.

The bank had also said it recognised that this particular section also grants power to a court or judge to order that the party is at liberty to inspect and take copies of any entries in a “banker’s book,” but not to be supplied with certified copies by the bank.

Section 2 of the Act, defines “banker’s book” as including “any ledger, day book, cash book, account book, and any other book used in the ordinary business of a bank, and any electronic equipment or object on which particulars of any transaction made by the bank are stored .”

It was against this backdrop the bank had advanced that “particulars of any transaction made by the bank” does not include “applications to facilitate accounts, transactions whether approved or not, details of safe deposit box current or closed, details of signatories to all bank accounts, details of any suspicious or unusual case, or large transactions.”

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