Friday 15 November, 2019

Reid, Pinnock and co. allegedly defrauded state of $56 million

Former Education Minister Ruel Reid (partially hidden, second left) and CMU President, Professor Fritz Pinnock (centre) being escorted to a motor vehicle outside the Half-Way Tree Police Lock-up on Thursday morning. (PHOTO: Julian Richardson)

Former Education Minister Ruel Reid (partially hidden, second left) and CMU President, Professor Fritz Pinnock (centre) being escorted to a motor vehicle outside the Half-Way Tree Police Lock-up on Thursday morning. (PHOTO: Julian Richardson)

Allegations against former Education, Information and Youth Minister, Ruel Reid, President of the Caribbean Maritime Unit (CMU), Professor Fritz Pinnock, and their co-accused, are that they defrauded a total of $56 million.

Reid and Pinnock are charged with conspiracy to defraud, possession of criminal property, engaging in a transaction involving criminal property, misconduct in public office and corruption.

Ruel Reid's wife, Sharen Reid, his daughter Sharelle, and Kim Brown-Lawrence, Councillor for the Brown’s Town Division in North West St Ann, are all charged with possession of criminal property and conspiracy to defraud.

Allegations are that Reid conspired with Pinnock to have monies paid over to persons connected to Reid and that fictitious ledgers and invoices were created to make the payments appear legitimate.

It is also being alleged that several persons connected to Reid were awarded contracts including to provide food for at risk youth, but no services were provided. The funds were allegedly handed over to the contracted persons, including Reid's driver and protection officer, before being deposited into Reid’s account.

It is being further alleged that there were also several social media messages between both men that would be put into evidence to prove the crown’s case, the court was told.

It was also alleged that, as a minister, Reid was entitled to a helper whose salary was paid for out of the public purse. A debit card used for that payment was allegedly taken from the helper by his daughter Sharelle and funds were withdrawn by automated banking machines. Mrs Reid is also being accused of collecting $1 million from the helper’s account.

The court was told that, in total, $55 million was defrauded from the CMU and $1 million was defrauded from the Ministry of Education.

It is also alleged that Reid used his office to instruct Pinnock to employ several persons who were connected to him, including his wife, at the CMU.

All five were ordered to return to court on January 23 next year.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: