Almost a year and half since contempt of Court charges were filed against the Directors of the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry Limited, the Chief Magistrate threw out the charges today, saying that the Directors should not have been charged in the first place.
The Directors were charged over their alleged refusal to provide information to the Court about the movement of US$500 million in the account of the Guyana Rice Development Board, as part of a probe by the Special Organised Crime Unit.
Today, the Chief Magistrate said in her opinion, the Directors should not have been charged since the Court had already granted them more time to provide the information.
The Chief Magistrate said based on the evidence provided, the High Court order for them to provide the information had not been breached.
It was back in the month of October 2017 that the Directors of one of Guyana’s largest banks were hauled before the Court and charged for contempt. They all denied the charges and were released on self bail.
The Special Organised Crime Unit had moved to the High Court in an attempt to get the bank to provide investigators with information related to the movement of the US$500 million in the account of the Guyana Rice Development Board.
The High Court had issued an order instructing the company to provide the information. When the company failed to do so immediately, SOCU filed the contempt charges.
During the initial hearing, Attorney Nigel Hughes who represented the eight accused, told the Court, that the move to the Court was nothing more than an abuse of prosecutorial power.
He stated that his clients were following the Court order and had been granted an extension by the Chief Justice to turn over all the relevant information to the Special Organised Crime Unit.
Additionally, Mr. Hughes stated that the order was handed over to SOCU, but the unit chose to not acknowledge it.
He said the Court order by the Chief Justice was directed to the bank and not necessarily its Directors.