The chief executive officer (CEO) and the director of the Washington University of Barbados will remain on remand at HMP Dodds until November 12.
Chief Magistrate Christopher Birch made the order after hearing submissions from attorneys Ajamu Boardi and Roger Forde, QC, in the St Matthias Magistrate’s Court this morning.
The CEO, 42-year-old Rao Venkata Gopi, of No. 11 Falcon Crest, Tuscany, Oldbury, St Philip has been at the St Philip penal institution for a week now while the director, 33-year-old Deoraj Jaimangal Dalchand, of No. 3, Jacaranda Circle, Apple Drive, Union Development, St Philip was remanded this past Saturday.
The two are charged with dishonestly inducing Casa Grande Incorporated, their creditor, to wait for payment of BDS$2, 863, 080 in rent by deception by falsely representing that CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank cheques dated December 20, 2017, for $50,000; January 1, 2018 for $50,000; and August 28 for $110,000 were good and valid for payment.
Those offences allegedly occurred between April 1, 2017 and September 1, 208 in the District ‘C’ jurisdiction while they are also charged in the District ‘A’ jurisdiction with one count of evading liability at Furniture Limited T/S Builders Value Mart for one dishonoured cheque totaling BDS$30,000. It is alleged that between December 28, 2017 and September 2018 they dishonestly induced the company, their creditor, to wait for BDS$70,919.33 in payment by falsely representing that the cheque from the aforementioned bank dated December 12, 2017, payable to Builders Value Mart for BDS$30,000 was good and valid for payment.
The accused were not required to plead to the indictable charges.
Station Sergeant Peter Barrow today maintained his objections to bail for Gopi and also applied them to accused Dalchand as it was his first time appearing before the Chief Magistrate.
The prosecutor pointed to the seriousness of the charges, the fact that the offences spanned two jurisdictions as well as the fact that Dalchand was a non-national who “may very well leave the jurisdiction if granted bail at this time” while adding that the “investigations as it stands . . . other things may follow”.
However, Boardi who is representing Dalchand argued that his client was a good candidate for bail as he “had always been a person of good character [with] no previous convictions or pending charges.”
The attorney in his application for bail further stated that Dalchand was an engineer by profession, who had a business in neighbouring Guyana and also had clothing and cellular phone businesses here.
Boardi also revealed that while the accused was a non-national he was a Caricom national who came to Barbados in 2015 on a Caricom Skills Certificate and as such has status here.
“He has put down roots and ties here in the form of businesses and has put down a deposit on land . . . .
“This charge is a charge between two parties . . . it is a business issue . . . . it can not be resolved if he is in prison,” Boardi stated even as he revealed that Dalchand turned himself over to police after reading about his co-accused in the newspapers.
“He didn’t flee the law . . . he went to the law . . . he called me and I called them [the police] and they came. He has his family here . . . and is the sole breadwinner,” said the attorney who further stated that conditions could be placed on his client to secure bail.
Queens Counsel Forde also amplified on his week-old submissions agreeing with Boardi that the fact that his client was on remand would not rectify the situation.
“No progress can be made when they are incarcerated . . . this is based on accumulative rent . . . and there is a distinction between a company cheque and a personal cheque. In the context of the transaction . . . the rent was not due by the accused but by a company,” the Queen’s Counsel said among other things.
However, the bail applications were denied by Chief Magistrate Birch as businesswoman Asha Mrs Ram Mirchandani who owns the property where the medical school is based and attorney Michael Lashley,QC, who is holding a watching brief on her behalf, took in the proceedings.