“Theft is Theft, regardless of when it happened” – Jagdeo tells Nigel Hughes in relation to Carol Smith-Joseph’s alleged fraud charges

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Attorney-at-law, Nigel Hughes (Left) Vice President, Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo (Middle) APNU+AFC Chief Election Scrutineer, Carol Smith-Joseph (Right)

The Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) of the Guyana Police Force read 14 charges for the misuse of funds on Friday to APNU+AFC Chief Election Scrutineer, Carol Smith-Joseph, while in the presence of her attorney, Senior Counsel, Roydale Forde and Nigel Hughes.

According to SOCU, a report of allegations of fraudulent fund appropriation against Carol Smith-Joseph, who was then a director of the Mahaica Abary Rice Development Scheme (MARDS) Rice Milling Complex Limited, a private company registered under the Companies Act, Cap 89:01, was given to it in March 2022. Upon receiving the report, SOCU launched an investigation, which eventually found that Carol Joseph, acting in her capacity as a director (MARDS) board, solely approved fourteen transactions totaling GC $6,121,108.00 between June 1 and August 2016 without the Board’s knowledge or permission.

According to SOCU, she used these funds for personal expenses and other uses outside of (MARDS’S) business. Following the completion of the investigations, a file was created and delivered to the Director of the Public Prosecution’s Chambers for legal counsel.

Smith-Joseph was invited to SOCU on Friday based on legal counsel from the DPP’s chambers, where she was confronted with 14 allegations of fraudulent appropriation of body corporate property totalling GC $6,121,108.00 committed by Mahaica Abary Rice Development Scheme (MARDS) Rice Milling Complex Limited.

According to the woman’s attorney, Nigel Hughes, the allegations stem from an alleged crime she allegedly committed in 2016. He stated that in his opinion, SOCU’s action is in response to the Chief Scrutineer’s court application contesting the preliminary voters’ list created by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) for the March 13, 2023 Local Government Elections.

“The charges are from May 2016; we are now in 2022. The present administration has been in office since 2020 and no attempt was made to lay these allegations until after Ms. Joseph commenced proceedings against GECOM,” Hughes stated. 

However, Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo has insisted that individuals found guilty must bear the full weight of the law regardless of when the crime was committed. 

“They have been saying that the PPP should have filed the case against Carol Joseph two years ago when we attained office but theft is theft, it could be filed anytime,” Jagdeo noted.

The Vice President also reiterated at a recent news conference that shocking information about the opposition is about to come to light.

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