Former Tobago House of Assemblyman Handel Beckles has been ordered to repay $300,000 plus costs to an elderly couple, after they alleged that he fraudulently induced them to hand over cash over a period of time.
Fitzroy and Cordella Pantin, both of Bethel, Tobago, had sued Beckles, his wife Merle and their church, Impact Ministries Tobago, for monies due and owing for breach of contract and for fraudulent misrepresentation.
The matter was heard and delivered by Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh at the Tobago High Court yesterday.
The Pantins alleged that Beckles and others fraudulently induced them to spend more than $500,000 in cash, materials and other donations and purchases for improving a church known as Impact Ministries located at Mt Pleasant, Tobago, with promises of repayment. However, Beckles, in his submission to the court, said the Pantins’ monies were treated as contributions, gifts and tithes given freely and voluntarily to the church and that they were therefore entitled to nothing.
Through their attorneys, the Pantins filed for breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation against Beckles.
The court then ordered Beckles and the Impact Ministries Church to repay the Pantin, within 28 days, the sum of $300,000 plus their legal costs.
The Pantins were represented by attorneys from Martin George & Company, while Beckles was represented by former Magistrate Michael Broomes.
Beckles won the Bethel/Mt Irvine seat in the January 2013 THA elections. He served in the THA as assistant secretary in the Division of Works and Infrastructure for one term.