PORT OF SPAIN — Jack Warner is usually at the receiving end of accusations.
Yesterday, however, a couple appeared in the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court on 114 fraud-related charges of defrauding the Minister of National Security and his wife Maureen of just under $2 million.
Routie Sunita Rampersad, 42, of 7 Eleventh Street, Barataria, and her husband Shivanand Bhagwandass, 56, of the same address, were both charged by WPC Corporal Lisa Cudjoe of the Fraud Squad.
At 3:15 p.m., the couple appeared before Magistrate Debbie Ann Basso, who proceeded to read aloud the charges that ended an hour and 45 minutes later.
Rampersad, dressed in a yellow top and jeans, bowed her head most of the time when the charges were being read, while Bhagwandass, dressed in a grey long-sleeved sweater and washed out jeans, glanced around occasionally at his mother, who was sitting in court.
The majority of charges were for uttering forged documents, obtaining money and forgery.
All the incidents of alleged fraud occurred between September, 2007 until March 2013.
Based on the long list of charges read out, it is alleged that Rampersad and Bhagwandass cashed First Citizens, Independence Square cheques in this six-year period at Scotia and First Citizens branches in Chaguanas that had the pre-signed signatures of Jack Warner and/or his wife Maureen.
The money was withdrawn from the Warners’ joint account, totalling $1.9 million.
Cheques ranging from $10,500 to as much as $165,000 were withdrawn from the Warners’ account during the period.
Rampersad, 42, had worked at the Centre of Excellence in Macoya as an accounts clerk for a period of three years.
Rampersad, the court was told, was now working as a gardener with Bhagwandass.
Attorney Mansergh Griffith, who held for attorney Larry Williams, told the court that both his clients had no previous convictions or matters pending and asked the court to grant them bail.
Magistrate Basso said she would consider bail on the first 15 charges that emanated in St. George West, but indicated she would have to transfer the charges number 16-114 to the Chaguanas Magistrates’ Court.
She remanded the couple in custody and adjourned the matter until Thursday pending a tracing of the couple. (Express)