Glenn Lall and wife slapped with fraud charges, released on self-bail
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Publisher of the Kaieteur News, Glenn Lall, and his wife, Bhena Lall
Publisher of the Kaieteur News, Glenn Lall, and his wife, Bhena Lall

…set to re-appear in court on November 24

PUBLISHER of Kaieteur News, Mr. Mohan Lall, commonly referred to as Glenn Lall, and his wife Bhena were yesterday arraigned at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court, to answer charges that relate to defrauding the Guyana Revenue Authority of duties.The filing of the charges followed the disclosure of details of an alleged duty-free scam which were made public by the Guyana Chronicle after a close examination of the Government of Guyana’s review of the Remigrant Scheme.
The couple, who reside at Nandy Park, East Bank Demerara, denied the charges that were read to them by Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry.
The defence was represented by high-profile lawyers, some of whom are also prominent politicians. The list of lawyers include, Mr. Khemraj Ramjattan, Senior Counsels Rex McKay, Nigel Hughes, Christopher Ram, Joseph Harmon, Brendan Glasford, Bettina Glassford and Robin Hunte.

CHARGES READ
Four charges were read to Lall and his wife. They state that:
1. The two parties were knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of import duties of Customs on vehicle, PRR 8398, contrary to Section 218(e) of the Customs Act, Chapter 82:01.
2. The two parties were knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of import duties of Customs on vehicle, PRR 8399, contrary to Section 218(e) of the Customs Act, Chapter 82:01.
3. Glenn Lall and Bhena Lall, knowingly dealt with goods with intent to defraud the revenue of duties thereon to wit one (1) Lexus LX 570 Motor Vehicle registration number PRR 8398 with engine capacity 5700 cc, Chassis No. JTJHY7AX6 D4094851, contrary to Section 218(d) of the Customs Act Chapter 82:01
4. Glenn Lall and Bhena Lall, knowingly dealt with goods with intent to defraud the revenue of duties thereon to wit one (1) Lexus LX 570 Motor Vehicle registration number PRR 8399 with engine capacity 5700 cc, Chassis No. JTJHY7AX6 D4094851, contrary to Section 218(d) of the Customs Act Chapter 82:01.
Defence counsel, Ramjattan requested that his clients be released on their own recognisance, which is self-bail.
The Lall’s’ are expected to return to court on November 24 and the matter was transferred before Magistrate Judy Latchman.
Representing the prosecution was attorney-at-law Mr. Mahendra Satram and Sandil Kissoon.
Additionally, the other two parties involved in the alleged duty-free scam, Narootandeo and Gharbassi Brijnanan, did not appear to answer the charges against them.

The charges against the two remigrants state that:
1. The two parties were knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of import duties of Customs on vehicle, PRR 8398, contrary to Section 218(e) of the Customs Act, Chapter 82:01.
2. The two parties were knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of import duties of Customs on vehicle, PRR 8399, contrary to Section 218(e) of the Customs Act, Chapter 82:01.
3. Narootandeo and Gharbassi Brijnanan did make and subscribe to a false declaration in a matter relating to the Customs, contrary to Section 217(1)(a) of the Customs Act Chapter 82:01, involving a vehicle PRR 8398
4. Narootandeo and Gharbassi Brijnanan did make and subscribe to a false declaration in a matter relating to the Customs, contrary to Section 217(1)(a) of the Customs Act Chapter 82:01, involving a vehicle PRR 8399.
The lawyers representing Glenn and Bhena Lall are expected to be the same group of lawyers representing the Brijnanans.
Altogether, six criminal charges were filed against Lall and the Brijnanans.

DETAILS DISCLOSED
Under the remigrant programme, Guyanese who would have resided overseas for more than five years and are returning home to reside are entitled to a number of benefits, among which are import duty-free waivers for vehicles, and tax exemption for household items, once the items at reference were owned for six months or more in the country where the remigrant was living.
In Lall’s case, husband and wife Narootandeo and Gharbassi Brijnanan were entitled to concessions as two separate individuals, although a joint application was submitted.
The Brijnanans, having decided to return to Guyana to live permanently, were entitled to certain tax breaks, so they imported two luxury vehicles. But the address they gave on the registration forms for both vehicles, Lot 8 Continental Park, East Bank Demerara, was that of their son, Navin Sankar, even though the Lalls are the primary users of the vehicles.
The vehicle, PRR 8398, for instance, is usually parked in front of the Kaieteur News head office on Saffon Street, Charlestown, while PRR 8399 is often seen on Regent Street, in the heart of the city, near Bhena’s Footwear, the shoe business operated by Lall’s wife.
The Brijnanans successfully obtained import duty concessions in the sum of $4,222,223.55 for each vehicle, totalling in excess of $8M. Meanwhile, this newspaper’s research into the source price for a Lexus L570 is about US$80,000. Import duty for such a vehicle would be a total of US$94,500, bringing the total value of the vehicle to US$174,500, or more than G$36M for each of the vehicles imported by the Brijnanans.
If the alleged violations are upheld, it would mean that the Government was cheated out of a total of US$189,000, or almost $40M in import duty for the two vehicles.
At the end of August, after an hours-long standoff between GRA officials and the Brijnanans’ son, Sankar, a high-ranking GRA employee, the vehicles were handed over to GRA and impounded at the authority’s warehouse.
An investigation was then launched to ensure that procedures and policy, as well as the provisions of the law, were adhered to. The criminal charges, this newspaper understands, stem from that investigation.

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