Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Police execute search of Guyana Cricket Board officials' homes following court order

The premises of several officials from the embattled Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) were searched following a High Court order, in an effort to retrieve “important documents” relating to the Board.

The search warrants were obtained, among several orders that were filed on February 16, by Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall, last Friday from Chief Justice Ian Chang.
Warrants were issued to search the properties of former GCB President Chetram Singh, current President Ramsey Ali, Terrence Holder, Anand Sanasie, Lionel Jaikaran, Fizul Bacchus, Alfred Mentore, Dru Bahadur, Anand Kalludeen, Colin Europe, Troy Mendonca, Rayon Griffith, and Nazimul Drepaul.
However, president of the embattled cricket board Ramsey Ali told the media, that police invaded his home and office, along with three other board officials on Monday. Ali said the homes of board secretary Anand Senasee, past President Chetram Singh, and another trustee, Lionel Jaikarran were among the officials’ homes searched.
While Ali was reluctant to disclose what was found during the search, we understand that financial documents and other papers were taken away by the police.
Searches were expected to be conducted on the premises of, Dru Bahadur, Anand Kalludeen, Colin Europe, Troy Mendonca, Terrence Holder, Rayon Griffith, Nazimul Drepaul, Fizul Bacchus and Alfred Mentore.
The High Court granted an ‘Anton Piller Orders’ against the thirteen officials from the Guyana Cricket Board. An Anton Piller order is a court order that provides the right to search premises and seize evidence without prior warning.

This prevents destruction of relevant evidence, particularly in cases of alleged trademark, copyright or patent infringements.
The orders were filed by the Permanent Secretary of the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Alfred King on behalf of the Plaintiff, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, against the Respondents/Defendants Ramsey Ali, in his capacity as the purported president of the Guyana Cricket Board, Fizul Bacchus, Alfred Mentore, Anand Sanasie, Dru Bahadur, Anand Kalludeen, Colin Europe, Troy Mendonca, Terrence Holder, Rayon Griffith, Nazimul Drepaul and Chetram Singh, in his capacity as a purported Trustee of the Guyana Cricket Board and Lionel Jaikaran.
In court documents it was ordered that the defendants be restrained “from holding themselves or himself out in Guyana as members of the executive committee of the Guyana Cricket Board, save in respect of the conduct of court cases, whether extant or contemplated until the hearing and determination of a summons returnable in this cause.”
The order also prohibits the Respondents/Defendants from “holding themselves out to being representatives of the GCB and administrators of cricket in Guyana, preventing the GCB as a body from being the administrator of local cricket and restraining it from disposing of, dealing with, and/or transferring any assets (books records, cheques, microfilms, computer disks) which concern the affairs of the Board.”

Further, the officials are also restrained from accessing bank accounts related to the GCB, which may contain funds belonging to the Board since those bank accounts have essentially been frozen.
In additionally, the order allows for premises owned, occupied, leased or possessed by these persons, to be searched for the purpose of retrieving any documents or records, books, accounts, disks or micro-chip which may contain any information or relate to the affairs of the GCB.
These orders fall under the purview of the Anton Piller Orders but entail mechanisms to ensure that people’s rights are not abused or eroded. To this end, an Attorney-at-Law and the Marshal of the High Court are present during the search.
Moreover, the person who is affected by the order is entitled to have his/her Attorney-at-Law present as well, so as to ensure that the orders are executed in a fair and dispassionate way.

Meanwhile, several allegations of administrative malpractices have been leveled against the GCB, which resulted in the Chief Justice’s ruling that recommended the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport to intervene in order to bring some sort of temporary solution until a permanent one was reached.
As a result, an Interim Management Committee (IMC) was established by the Guyana government on December 23 to regularise the administration of the game.

On the other hand, a police investigation was launched to examine the allegations of financial irregularities and other issues with regard to the conduct of those who were in charge of cricket to determine whether or not they had violated any aspect of the law.
Despite these happening on the locally, the West Indies Cricket Board continues to recognize only the GCB, and last month the International Cricket Council condemned the government’s interference in the functioning of cricket in Guyana.
The WICB has already cancelled plans for Australia to play a test against West Indies in Guyana in April, and has moved the Guyanese team to new bases for the ongoing Regional Four-Day Championship.

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