Senior Magistrate Leron Daly this afternoon dismissed the fraud charges against six former members of the board of the Guyana Rice Development Board.
The Magistrate’s decision came as a result of the absence of the Special Prosecutor for the Special Organised Crime Unit who was overlooking the matter.
When a call was made for Special Prosecutor Lawrence Harris, he was nowhere to be found and the Attorneys for the six accused requested that the matters be dismissed for want of Prosecution since the Special Prosecutor had been absent on several other occasions without reason.
The Magistrate agreed with the position of the Defence Lawyers and dismissed the charges.
Two serving Opposition Parliamentarians and a former Deputy Permanent Secretary were among the six persons charged for a multi-million-dollar fraud at the Guyana Rice Development Board (GRDB), dating as far back as 2011.
The former GRDB Board members were slapped with five separate charges totaling over $400 million.
The six former GRDB Officials, Dharamkumar Seeraj, Nigel Dharamlall, Ricky Ramraj, Jagnarine Singh, Badrie Persaud and Former Ministry of Agriculture Deputy Permanent Secretary, Prema Roopnarine had always maintained their innocence of the fraud charges.
The first charge dated back to 2011 and involved a $52 million omission in the accounts of the GRDB while a second charge read that in 2012 the then Board members also conspired and omitted to enter the sum of $77.3 million into the ledger.
The other chargers span the years 2014 and 2015 and included a $130 million omission, a $9.7 million omission and a $145 million omission.
The Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) brought the charges against the six persons following investigations that went on for over a year. The investigations were prompted by the findings of a forensic audit.