|Nine accused of corruption in SIPT investigation||| Print ||
|Written by Richard Greenfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Thursday, 08 December 2011 10:43|
Four former Turks and Caicos Islands government ministers and five others were formally charged in court Dec. 6 with taking millions of dollars for fraudulently distributing government land and granting concessions to developers.
Former Deputy Premier Floyd Hall and his wife, Lisa, were both charged with conspiracy to defraud the government to allow U.K. developer Richard Padgett to get special consideration for his aborted Third Turtle development on Providenciales.
Special Investigation and Prosecution Team (SIPT) lawyer Mark Weekes told Magistrate Clifton Warner that Padgett deposited $485,000 into of one of Floyd Hall’s bank accounts in the TCI and another $425,000 into a U.S. account of Floyd and Lisa Hall in return for favorable treatment.
Warner granted Floyd Hall a $500,000 bail and Lisa hall $100,000 bail, but he ordered Padgett held without bail on a charge of bribery because Padgett is a U.K. citizen with nothing to hold him here.
Padgett had been charged in October and released after posting two pieces of property worth $375,000 and was prepared to offer another $1.8 million in property to remain free pending his next court hearing, an offer the SIPT did not oppose. But Warner refused to accept those conditions, a decision Padgett’s lawyer David O’Mahony appealed to the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice Edwin Goldsbrough allowed Padgett to be released on stringent bail conditions. Pending the outcome of his bail recognisance, he cannot leave the island.
In February the interim government’s Civil Recovery Team sought to cancel Padgett’s development agreement, saying he and his Oceanpoint Developments Ltd. paid more than $1.1 million to Floyd Hall and former Premier Michael Misick to get special treatment for Third Turtle.
Seven Stars developer and millionaire Jak Civre has already appeared in court on a charge of bribing Floyd Hall with a $150,000 payment that went into the account of one of Floyd Hall’s businesses the day before the 2007 general election. Civre is free on $35 million bail.
Former minister Jeffery Hall was also charged with conspiring with others to defraud the government by distributing Crown land to earn himself and his family at least $1 million, with a total loss to government of $1.3 million, said SIPT lawyer Robert Rinder.
Charged in the same conspiracy were former ministers Lillian Boyce and Samuel Been. All three were granted $175,000 bail.
Quentin Hall, Floyd Hall’s brother, and Earlson Robinson, Lillian Boyce’s brother, were charged with accepting proceeds of criminal conduct for receiving money from the transactions. They were both granted $100,000 bail.
Attorney Melbourne Wilson was charged with money laundering in those transactions and was granted $175,000 bail.
Many of the details of the allegations came to light during a Commission of Inquiry in 2009 that led the U.K. to suspend elected government in its overseas territory, take control under a British governor and launch investigations into allegations of widespread corruption of elected ministers and others.
The SIPT has spent the last 18 months reconstructing the transactions and following leads because inquiry evidence and testimony could not be used and had to be independently proven.
Not charged so far are former Premier Michael Misick and former Minister McAllister Hanchell, who Commissioner Sir Robin Auld said should be investigated for a number of allegedly corrupt transactions.
Misick’s brother, attorney Chal Misick, is free on $3 million bail. He is accused of laundering $2.7 million of bribes from developers of Dellis Cay and Joe Grant’s Cay.
The Civil Recovery Team successfully sought to cancel the 2008 sale of Joe Grant Cay for $7.7 million because Dr. Cem Kinay paid $500,000 to former premier Michael Misick just before the “gross undervalue” sale was approved, Supreme Court Justice G.W. Martin ruled in June.
Kinay and his companies are also facing government action and a U.S. lawsuit over his Dellis Cay development, which stalled in 2009 and is in receivership by lender Trinidad and Tobago Unit Trust Corporation.
None of the defendants had the opportunity to speak during the three-hour long proceeding.
All the defendants except Padgett were ordered to surrender their passports, not to travel without notifying the SIPT, and to report regularly to the SIPT.
They are set to appear in court again Feb. 3 for sufficiency hearings to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed with trials.
Photos: (from left) Jeffery Hall, Floyd Hall, Lillian Boyce, Samuel Been
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