Mon | Oct 21, 2019

UPDATE: FID says others targeted in Reid-CMU corruption probe, case now airtight

Published:Wednesday | October 9, 2019 | 12:26 PM
Attorney Carolyn Chuck walks ahead of police detectives escorting former Education Minister Ruel Reid, his wife Sharen and their daughter Sharelle. They emerged from their houses with their heads covered - Ricardo Makyn photo.

Damion Mitchell, Integration Editor

The head of the Financial Investigation Division (FID), Robin Sykes, has said that more players are being targeted in the multimillion-dollar corruption probe at the education ministry, the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU), and other entities in the ministry.

This morning, former Education Minister Ruel Reid, his wife Sharen, their daughter Sharelle​, president of the Caribbean Maritime University Professor Fritz Pinnock, and Brown’s Town Division Councillor Kim Brown Lawrence were arrested during pre-dawn operations at their homes in St Andrew, St Catherine, and St Ann.

Speaking on Nationwide Radio a short while ago, Sykes said that there could be more arrests.

"Investigators are going to continue looking at other persons and targets," Sykes said.

This morning, officers of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) also raided the house of former St Ann North West Member of Parliament Othneil Lawrence.

However, Lawrence, who is also a consultant at the CMU, was not arrested.

In a statement this morning, MOCA said that the probe involves allegations of corruption, fraud, and misappropriation of public funds in a multimillion-dollar corruption and fraud scheme perpetrated at the Ministry of Education, the CMU, and other government entities falling under the portfolio responsibility of Reid, a former senator and minister.

Sykes has declined to say which other entities are being investigated.

 

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We have a 'solid' case, investigator insists

Financial Investigation Division boss Robin Sykes has said that he is confident that investigators have a "solid" case in the Ruel Ried CMU corruption case.

In July, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn found that four criminal laws may have been breached by "key players" in the matter.

READ: Four criminal laws possibly breached

In addition to the breaches of the four criminal laws, the DPP said that there were possibly two common-law offences and possible administrative breaches.

The DPP recommended further investigations but said the decision whether to arrest and charge any of the accused and place them before the court rested with the police and other investigative bodies.

This morning, Llewellyn told Power 106FM's 'Morning Agenda' that since her last consultation with law-enforcement authorities three months ago, there has been no further contact.

However, Sykes said investigators have acted on the opinion of the DPP to close certain gaps in the probe.

"We are confident. We looked at additional avenues and have closed those gaps. We believe that we are in a position to proceed as we have today," Skyes said.

The DPP has said she found it "unusual" that an updated file had not been sent to her before today's arrests.

However, Sykes insists that the case is now airtight.

"We are firm in our conviction that our case is solid," he said.

Sykes also said the FID would be seeking to have discussions with the DPP for a fiat to prosecute the case.

However, he said the case first has to be brought before the court.

Sykes said it is expected that the accused will be charged later today after being questioned and will be brought before the court as soon as possible.

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