Fidelity becomes state witness in customs fraud case
The fidelity company will be the witness for the state in that multi-million dollar fraud involving the fidelity company and 13 customs officers and brokers.
Fidelity went for a plea bargain agreement and in that agreement the company will offer testimony against the officers arrested and charged in connection with the importation of polar beer and the company’s efforts to defraud the Guyana government of well over 300 million dollars.
The plea bargain deal explains why the director of public prosecutions has sent down instructions that charges not be laid against the company and that no further prosecution of the company takes place.
There were whispers all along in the political and legal circles that a plea deal was being worked out, as new legislation quickly made its way through the national assembly paving the way for plea bargaining, the whispers were confirmed today by president jagdeo in his address to the police commissioners meeting.
News of the plea bargain arrangement has caught many senior customs officials totally surprised since according to reports they were totally unaware of negotiations for such an agreement, the Guyana revenue authority was moving full steam ahead with its plans to file charges against the company in the matter. Fidelity also had several other fraud cases before the courts, it remains unclear whether those cases will also be affected by the plea deal.
The company which has a former government minister in its employ and which supported the government heavily in its hosting of Carifesta was strongly criticized by the president a few months back when he said the company was guilty of wrongdoing. That guilt may now never come into question in the court system.
Fidelity which imports polar beer was found guilty of fraud in an auditor general’s report and special investigation. The company claimed that it was customs officers who wanted to defraud the government, those customs officers pointed fingers right back and said fidelity was importing beer while preparing documents for aerated beverages which attract less taxes.