After stating that the prosecution failed to prove its case, a city magistrate yesterday dismissed the charge against Carvil Duncan, the former Guyana Power and Light Inc (GPL) Director who was accused of conspiring to steal $27.7 million from the company.
“Duncan is finally vindicated in the matter and is glad that the court came to the right decision,” Duncan’s attorney, Everton Singh-Lammy, who represented him in association with Glenn Hanoman, said moments after Senior Magistrate Fabayo Azore announced that a prima facie case was not made out against Duncan.
It was alleged that Duncan, between May 7th and May 8th, 2015, conspired with another to steal the sum of $27,757,547, which was the property of GPL. Former GPL Deputy Chief Executive Aeshwar Deonarine had been initially named as the co-accused in the case.
The money allegedly stolen represented a retroactive salary hike for the period January 2013 to June 2015 that Deonarine transferred to himself with the help of Duncan, who was one of the signatories to the company’s bank account. Duncan had told this newspaper that he believed the board had approved the retroactive payment to Deonarine.
Presenting her ruling from facts that she described as being “pretty straight forward,” the magistrate noted the evidence of Company Secretary Laurian Bancroft and said that based on her evidence there was no misalignment of funds.
Magistrate Azore noted that certain factors that needed to be proven by the prosecution, including that there was an agreement and that the agreement was to carry out a lawful or unlawful act by the defendant and an unknown party.
The court heard that the prosecution did prove that there was indeed an agreement between the accused and an unknown person.
However, the magistrate noted that the question arises as to who owns the money when it goes into the bank. After pointing out that there was no taking in the sense of larceny, Magistrate Azore noted that a legal action was committed by Duncan but whether he had the right to do so is a problem for GPL and not the court since the accused was not charged with the misappropriation of funds.
In light of these circumstances, the prosecution heard that it did not prove an element of the offence and as a result the court would be upholding the no-case submission made by the defendant’s attorney.
Duncan then heard that a prima facie case was not made out against him and that the charge was dismissed.
Duncan was previously charged with conspiring to steal $984,900 from GPL. He was also freed of that charge by Magistrate Leron Daly in 2016 due to insufficient evidence.