EDITOR, The Tribune.
In 2008, the Police conducted an investigation at a government ministry that resulted in the arrest of two persons, a female employee and a male contractor.
Both were charged on September 18th, 2008, with several counts of fraud and stealing.
On April 19, 2013, both accused persons appeared before a judge with a plea agreement. They pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud by false pretences and four counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false pretences.
One accused was fined a total of $14,000.00 to be paid in five monthly instalments to commence on the April 30, 2013. The other accused was fined a total of $28,000.00 to be paid in nine monthly instalments of $3,111.11 to commence on April 30, 2013.
In both cases, the judge stated, that in default of any monthly payment the entire remainder of the fines would become due immediately and if the total amounts cannot be paid the convicts are to spend the sentenced time in HM Prisons. The sentence is six months imprisonment on each count.
I have been making inquiries to ascertain if the fines were paid. I have contacted the courts, the registry, the financial unit of the courts, with negative results. I have written to the Ministry of Finance. There has been no response.
I have reasonable grounds to suspect, that the fines have not been paid.
My concern is based on information of irregularities in our courts regarding the payment of fines, cash bail and cash exhibits.
I am aware of a number of persons being arrested on warrants for non-payment of fines and later released when they were able to provide receipts, that the fines were paid.
Should any government officials be interested in the names of the accused persons and the case number to pursue the matter, I can be contacted.
It may be time for the government auditors to take a look at the courts.
PAUL THOMPSON Sr