No evidence found to extradite Charrandas – Ramjattan
The probe into the bribery allegations and movement of gold against former Alliance For Change Member of Parliament Charrandas Persaud is at a standstill as investigators have not obtained substantial evidence in the matter.
This disclosure was made by Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan on Wednesday when he told reporters that the police have failed to obtain a statement from Persaud and there is not enough evidence for him to be extradited to Guyana.
“Charrandas left and the investigators were supposed to, I think, ask him some questions and they’re not getting him. Whatever was the status for the past couple of months, it is just stuck there,” Ramjattan said.
Persaud is being investigated for reportedly taking a bribe to vote in favour of the No-Confidence Motion brought against the APNU/AFC Government on December 21, 2018.
Ramjattan, in responding to questions posed by media operatives on the status of the investigations, stated that police were acting on suspicion. “Police were acting on information and suspicions whether someone else paid him to do what he did. All of that will be technical legal issues,” he said.
Ramjattan, however, maintained that the matter remains of national importance while noting that some investigations are stalled for years and reopens when new evidence emerges.
Questioned further on whether the police will consider using a diplomatic channel to get in contact with the former MP, Ramjattan said he doubts that will be the case “For Canada, you have to have evidence of a crime being committed before you can bring back somebody. Solid evidence of a crime especially against a citizen of Canada. I don’t know if we have managed to accumulate that,” the Security Minister said.
The investigation was launched in January after a report was made of a plan by Charrandas Persaud to purchase gold. A number of gold miners have since been questioned by police as part of an ongoing probe into the bribery allegations.
Police say Persaud was in talks with players of the gold industry to purchase a large quality of gold…almost US$1 million.
At least one gold dealer was reportedly asked to provide a statement. Despite speculations by the PPP and some members of the public that the investigation was “politically motivated” and launched as a result of directions by the Public Security Minister, Police Commissioner Leslie James has maintained that he was not instructed to do so.
“Something was brought to my attention by the Minister and based on that, an investigation ensued. I don’t receive instructions…political instructions. I must make that very clear,” James stated.
Persaud, who is also a Canadian citizen, sided with the Opposition and voted for the motion which was declared passed by House Speaker Dr Barton Scotland, resulting in the toppling of the Government on December 21, 2018. He flew to Canada hours after, where he remains to date.
The legality of his vote was challenged by the APNU/AFC Government taking into consideration his dual citizenship. In addition, the Government also challenged the number of votes needed for a No-Confidence Motion to be validly passed.
They are contending that 34 is needed for an absolute majority to pass such a motion but the Opposition held out that the Constitution of Guyana referred to 33 as majority and that no part of the law mentioned “absolute majority”.
The matter was heard by Chief Justice, Roxanne George, who ruled that the vote was validly passed and that 33 was deemed a majority. The Chief Justice’s ruling was challenged once again by the Government in the Appeal Court. After deliberations and submissions, two of the Judges in the Appeal Court ruled that the vote was not valid while one ruled in favour of the passage.
As such, the Opposition approached the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to determine the validity of the vote.
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) is expected to give the final ruling on Tuesday as to whether or not the motion of no-confidence against the APNU/AFC Government was validly passed.