Ongoing corruption and missing US $50 million case Two accused in the case plead not guilty |15 July 2022
Court sets April 11 next year as start of trial date
Sarah Rene and Mukesh Valabhji yesterday pleaded not guilty before the Supreme Court to all the charges laid against them by the Anti-Corruption Commission in the ongoing corruption and missing US $50 million case while the date for the start of the trial has been set for April 11 next year.
Chief Justice Rony Govinden said the trial is expected to go on for some three months meaning it would be completed by the end of July next year.
Justice Govinden read a total of 15 charges against the accused – 10 against Mr Valabhji alone which relate to plotting to steal, corruption, abuse of authority, plotting to launder money and money laundering. One of the charges applies to both accused and this is plotting to launder money.
The four charges against Mrs Rene alone have all to do with money laundering.
Meanwhile before the Court proceedings yesterday Counsel Joel Camille representing Mrs Rene asked the Court to quash the charges against her arguing that she was not properly notified of the amended charges and that the amended charges are defective.
Mr Camille stated that the charges are defective as the particulars of charges are not clear enough in contravention of Article 19(2)(b) of the Constitution.
Mr Camille stated that the accused person has a right to know details and nature of the charge in a language that the person understands and that unclear particulars cause difficulty in preparing the defence.
The Counsel for the ACCS in response stated that amended charges were properly served on the parties and that the Court’s proceedings record shows that Daniel Cesar representing Mrs Rene when asked whether his client had any objections to the amended charges stated in Court that there were no objections and that his client was ready to plead during the next Court date, June 30, 2022, which was later adjourned to yesterday. The Counsel further stated that charges were not defective and were good in law and particulars are clear when read in conjunction with the evidence against the accused persons.
Justice Govinden dismissed Mr Camille’s request.
After the request was dismissed, Mr Cesar asked the Court to withdraw from the case noting conflicting instructions. Withdrawal was granted.
Compiled by Marie-Anne Lepathy