Only one of Marlene McDonald’s co-accused was able to get bail on Monday and three of them were taken to the Port-of-Spain Prison to spend the night.
The Port-of Spain-South MP, who fell ill early Monday, was taken to the St Clair Medical Centre which she was warded under guard until her bail is processed.
It is unusual for someone charged with a criminal offence to be allowed to seek treatment at a private medical institution, sources said.
McDonald, who was fired for a third time as a government minister yesterday, did not face the court but in her absence, a total of 49 charges stemming from fraud and money laundering offences were read out by Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle to her four co-accused — Michael Carew, Victor McEachrane, Wayne Anthony and Edgar Zephyrine —in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates' Court.
Carew, McEachrane and Anthony were kept at the infirmary overnight and will likely be transferred to the Maximum Security Prison today if they are unable to secure bail.
Carew is the long-time companion of Mc Donald, Zephyrine is the former chairman of the National Commission for Self Help, McEachrane and Anthony, are both contractors. Anthony and Carew are both ministers of religion.
Only Zephyrine was successful in getting his bail approved yesterday following his appearance around 3.45 pm.
“Why am I still waiting on people at minutes to four,” asked the Chief Magistrate, who was made to wait a little longer after the wrong key for the holding bay was given to an officer seeking to bring the accused into the courtroom.
As a result, the men were walked into the court through the civilian entrance.
The Chief Magistrate rattled off the charges rapidly.
McDonald, 61, faced seven charges as her attorney Pamela Elder SC stood for her in absentia.
They were three charges of misbehaviour in public office, three charges of conspiracy to defraud the state of T&T and one charge on money laundering. She was placed on $2 million bail.
During the sitting, Elder raised concerns that McDonald was not allowed to access station bail as her co-accused had not been charged until Monday evening and instead were taken to the Maraval Police Station. This situation, Elder argued, given McDonald’s lengthy detention which began last Thursday, contributed to her hospitalisation.
Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard SC, who appeared for the state said he gave no instructions to deny bail to McDonald and similarly did not object to bail.
Carew faced eight charges —five for money laundering and three for conspiracy to defraud the state of T&T. He was placed on $500,000 bail.
While no objection was made to 72-year old Carew’s bail, the Chief Magistrate raised questions about his bailor 72-year-old Thomas Clarke. Clarke told the magistrate his memory was good but was unable to recall today’s date.
Zephyrine, 75, of Flagstaff Hill, St James faced 28 charges — one conspiracy charge and 27 offences of money laundering while McEachrane faced six charges— three for conspiracy to the defraud the state of T&T and three for money laundering.
Zephyrine was placed on $1 million bail, while McEachrane was placed on $400,000 bail.
Both men attempted to have their wives stand as their bailors. However, when it was learned that Zephyrine’s wife was an employee with the Ministry of Finance, the DPP objected as he felt it would be a conflict.
No objection was made for McEachrane’s wife to stand his bail.
Wayne Anthony, 66, of D’Abadie and Sou Sou Lands, Tobago faced one charge of money laundering was placed on $100,000 bail.
Gaspard said he was unable to say how many witnesses would be involved in the case as he had not yet received the police file in the case.
The matter was adjourned to September 9 when all the accused are expect to reappear.
Elder and Owen Hinds Jr represented McDonald and Carew, while Zephyrine was represented by Ian Brooks. Attorney Kenya Murray stood as the representative for McEachrane while Frank Peterson represented Anthony.