Police Constable Nawaz Ali was sentenced yesterday to five years in prison for accepting a $1,500 bribe from a Central Trinidad businessman. Ali, 29, was quiet as Justice Malcolm Holdip, presiding in the Port-of-Spain Second Criminal Court, imposed the sentence on the first-time offender.
Ali, a father of one, was accused of receiving the money from Azard Hosein on January 4, 2006 on the Uriah Butler Highway, Charlieville. He was found guilty last Friday but sentencing was postponed to yesterday. He was acquitted on two other charges. State attorney Sabriba Dougdeen prosecuted, while Ravi Rajcoomar, represented Ali. An appeal was lodged hours after the sentence was imposed.
In passing sentence, Holdip said Ali was of good character until the guilty verdict. He said Ali had tarnished his reputation and has ended his career as a policeman. He said the main purpose of punishment under the Prevention of Corruption Act was to probihit public officials from being involved in corrupt practices.
Holdip said the court had to impose a custodial sentence commensurate with the seriousness of the offence. He added, "The prisoner stands in a special category as he is a member of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. He has tarnished their mission statement–to protect and serve with pride." Holdip said Ali had lost the right to be a member of the T&T Police Service.