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Magistrate warns corporation fraud accused: Don’t threaten witnesses
One of the witnesses against a businessman and four suspended employees of Couva/ Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation (CTTRC), accused of conspiring to defraud the corporation of $149,500, has reported to the police that he has received threats.
This was brought to the attention of Couva Senior Magistrate Lucina Cardenas-Ragoonanan yesterday, who issued a stern warning to all the accused not to make threats to any of the witnesses.
Corporation CEO Carol Dyal; Barry Samaroo, a chief engineer; Maniram Mohess, county superintendent; Ian Gokool, road officer and Mahase Sookai, a businessman from Central Trinidad first appeared in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court on Monday where the charges were read to them.
They were granted $300,000 bail each and the matter was transferred to the Couva court since the crime allegedly took place in that jurisdiction.
When the matter was called, prosecutor Sgt Lincoln Bonnet informed the magistrate that Samaroo allegedly threatened the person who made the report against him.
Bonnet produced a station diary extract from the Couva Police Station, dated August 9, about the alleged threats made by Samaroo.
The magistrate then warned Samaroo, in particular, and all the accused against threatening or engaging any of the witnesses directly or indirectly.
He also told the prosecution to advise his witnesses against engaging the accused in any way as to provoke them.
The charge alleged that they conspired to defraud the corporation through the installation of outdoor exercise equipment at the San Pablo Recreation Ground and the Todd’s Road Activity Centre.
It is alleged that Sookai’s company was awarded the contracts and was paid despite no work being done. The crime allegedly took place on September 20 last year.
The five were held at the corporation at Railway Road, Couva, following investigations by Fraud Squad Officers. Insp Ramdhanie Dipchan laid the charge.
The magistrate was also informed by Bonnet that a State attorney had to be appointed in the matter and such the file had to be prepared and sent to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The magistrate said she expected disclosure to be made to the defence attorneys on the next occasion once a State attorney came on board.
Dyal was represented by attorney Mervyn Campbell, Samaroo by attorney Richard Sirjoo, Mohess by Lennox Sankarsingh, Gokool by attorney Michael Rooplal and Sookai by Irshad Ali.
They are expected to reappear on November 29.
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