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JAMAICA | Five including Ruel Reid and Fitz Pinnock charged in education scandal

Featured Disgraced former education minister Ruel Reid whose conduct investigations reveal, may have breached four criminal laws. Disgraced former education minister Ruel Reid whose conduct investigations reveal, may have breached four criminal laws.
KINGSTON, October 10, 2019 - Former education minister Ruel Reid and his four co-accused were granted bail today, when they appeared in the Corporate Area Criminal Court following their arrest yesterday when police  from the organized crime division, carried out early morning raids on each of their homes.
 
“Upon the completion of the interview process these parties,[Mr. Reid, his wife Sharen and their daughter Sharelle, along with Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) President Professor Fritz Pinnock and Kim Brown Lawrence, Councillor for the Brown's Town Division in St. Ann], were subsequently charged for various illegal acts, to include breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act (CPA), conspiracy to defraud, misconduct in a public office at common law and breaches of the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA)," the Financial Investigations Division, (FID), the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA), and the Constabulary Financial Unit of the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Division (CTOC) said in a news release.
 
The release came hours after Reid, his wife Sharen, daughter Sharelle, Pinnock, and Councillor Kim Brown Lawrence (Jamaica Labour Party, Brown's Town Division, St Ann) were detained by police investigating allegations of corruption, fraud and misappropriation of public funds at the Ministry of Education and the CMU.
 
Mr. Reid was granted bail in the sum of $3 million with surety, his wife in the sum of $1 million, while their daughter, Sharelle, was offered bail in the sum of $500,000.
 
CMU President Professor Fritz Pinnock was granted bail in the sum of $2 million, while he fifth accused, Kim Brown Lawrence, was granted $1 million bail.
 
All were ordered to surrender their travel documents and report twice weekly to a police station. In addition, the judge ordered that they be fingerprinted and not be seen at the Ministry of Education or Caribbean Maritime University. The matter will again be heard on January 23.
 
In the meantime, Justice Minister Delroy Chuck  was not too happy with the  the manner in which the arrests were executed and questioned the method with which the agencies went about the joint operation.

Speaking following an event in St Mary, Chuck cautioned the investigative agencies to ensure that the evidence they are relying on to prosecute those charged is sufficient to go before the courts.

“What is interesting is that the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) seems to have had no additional material or evidence, and what seems so unfortunate [is] that the arrests took place in what looks like Nicodemus in the night,” Chuck told journalists

“I don't get the impression that these persons are running away. They have actually made themselves available on all occasions. So, in fact, if an arrest should have been made they could easily have been asked to come in so that they could be charged and, in these persons' cases, if they are to be charged, I suspect that they could be granted their own bail, or they could be asked to surrender their travel documents as the case may be,” added Chuck.

He argued that it was unfortunate that the matter had become so “salacious” that raids were carried out at the houses of the suspects while the police searched for more material.

“It seems like the authorities are still not sure what they are looking for, but then again, you ask the question, as the leader of the opposition has indicated, why are these investigations taking so long? Come to a conclusion.

“If you don't have the material, report that you don't have enough material to charge. But if you go and you charge, be careful that you [don't] charge on very limited evidence with the end result being that the cases will not go very far and the end result will undermine the sort of confidence that you should have in the institutions,” warned Chuck.

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  • Countries: Jamaica

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