Former accountant of the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), Peter Ramcharran, is expected to call two witnesses in his defence for one of his trials.
Thirty-nine-year-old Ramcharran, who is being represented by attorney-at-law, Sase Gunraj, is facing 39 charges of fraudulent conversion and misappropriation, which allegedly took place between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2015.
He had pleaded not guilty to all the charges which involved tens of millions of dollars. The total is said to be over $400M. There are 17 charges of keeping fraudulent accounts, 16 for fraudulent appropriation and five for the falsification of accounts.
The trial for the falsification of accounts is before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
Yesterday, when the matter was recalled attorney Gunraj stated that his client is not prepared to lead his defence as he was supposed to. The lawyer told the court that Ramcharran would like to call two auditors Dr David Hinds and Leslie Veersammy.
According to the attorney, the witnesses were unable to be present at court yesterday based on other commitments and as such he asked for an adjournment of the case. He added that his client would like to save what he has to say until after these witnesses testify.
Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan said that she was not aware of the process of leading a defence after the defendant’s witnesses testify. However, she granted the adjournment citing that this will be the final chance for him to lead his defence another time.
Therefore, on the next occasion that the matter is called whether the defendant’s witnesses are present or not he will proceed to lead his defence. The matter was adjourned until December 5.
Special Prosecutor Patrice Henry, who is working for the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), is representing the state in this matter.
Ramcharran, of 32 Area ‘G’ Goedverwagting, East Coast Demerara, was brought before the court after eluding the hearings for almost two years while in Canada.
Ramcharran had first applied for refugee status. After he was turned down in December, he sought a review of his extradition process but this, too, was turned down. In 2017, the Chief Magistrate issued an arrest warrant for him.
The GRDB found itself in the spotlight after a forensic audit of that entity revealed a number of “anomalies”, such as loans without proper paperwork or promissory notes.