…jailed for 56 monthsSeveral months after being released from prison, having served 36 months for fraud, security guard Ronald Saunders again found himself arraigned before a Georgetown Magistrate on Monday to answer to a charge of fraud.The unrepresented Saunders admitted that on August 6, 2018, while being solely entrusted by Lancelot Bacchus with the sum of $2.7 million to purchase two tractor engines, he fraudulently converted the cash to his own use and benefit.The prosecution’s case is that the 48-year-old Saunders was employed as a security guard at the virtual complainant’s business place, and was given the money to purchase the engines, but never returned with either the engines or the money. The Police were called in, and Saunders was arrested and charged with the offence of fraud.Saunders told the court on Monday that he used the money to buy “things”.“I am sorry for what I did, but I can’t turn back the hands of time. I bought things; phones and other things,” he told the magistrate in a plea of mitigation.After considering the guilty plea, Senior Magistrate Judy Latchman sentenced Saunders to 56 months’ imprisonment.PrecedentSaunders had previously been charged in June 2016 for a similar offence. He had then been solely entrusted by Clint McKenzie with 12 ounces of raw gold, valued $2,760,000, to sell and bring the proceeds to McKenzie; but he had fraudulently converted the money to his own use and benefit. On that occasion, he was jailed for 36 months.
…Ambassador lauds collaboration on security frontNewly appointed United States Ambassador, Sarah-Ann Lynch, said her country is committed to helping Guyana realise its full potential, especially with the impending oil and gas industry.US Ambassador Sarah-Ann Lynch addressing the gathering at her welcome reception on FridayDuring a welcome reception at her residence on Friday evening, Ambassador Lynch noted that it is clear that all of Guyana wants to be part of the tremendous opportunities that await the country in the near future.“We all have a lot of important work to do – each in our own way – and, I want you to know that the United States will work hard to continue to be a key partner of Guyana’s to help it realise its potential both in Guyana and the region – our collective neighbourhood,” she stated.Extradited criminal: Troy ThomasTo this end, the US Diplomat told stakeholders gathered at the reception that she will continue to work to ensure Guyana’s development.“We will continue to partner with the Government and all relevant actors on the prosperity front – to help this country create an enabling environment where trade and investment will abound and the country and all of its citizens will thrive,” she posited.Moreover, Ambassador Lynch further pledged her country’s continued support to Guyana, especially in the security sector, which can see favourable results through collaboration. In fact, she noted that the recent extradition of US fugitive, Troy Thomas, is evidence of this.“We will continue to partner with Guyana on the important security front. This past week US and Guyanese security collaboration made history as we worked together on the highly successful extradition of the alleged murderer; the first extradition in well over a decade. We will continue to partner on the governance front to adhere to the rule of law and to strengthen institutions, both governmental and non-governmental to become more transparent and accountable,” the US envoy said.Thomas fled to Guyana after allegedly murdering Keith Frank, 20, a Guyanese who was shot and killed on December 11, 2011, at Richmond Hill, New York. He has also been accused of inflicting injuries upon Dr Katherine Maloney.Since 2012, authorities in the US had issued a wanted bulletin for the murder suspect. As such, in 2018, US Attorney General and Secretary of State sent an extradition request to the Guyana Government, which was served to the Foreign Affairs Ministry by the country’s Embassy here.As a result of the request, Thomas was apprehended by the Guyana Police Force last year and was kept in custody at the Lusignan Prison. In committing Thomas for extradition, a Georgetown Magistrate, among other things, ruled that she believed the fugitive was Troy Thomas, although he insisted that his name was Marvin Williams.However, Thomas moved to the High Court to further block his extradition. He challenged, among other things, his “illegal” confinement and argued in an affidavit that he is being unlawfully detained and subjected to legal processes unsupported by any legal basis or foundation.Thomas applied to the court for leave to issue a writ of habeas corpus, directing the Commissioner of Police to show cause why he should not be immediately released.However, High Court Judge, Justice Navindra Singh dismissed the application by the prisoner. He ruled on April 4, 2019, that there is sufficient evidence against Thomas to warrant his extradition to the US. In addition, Thomas was ordered to pay $450,000 in court costs.The extradition took effect on Wednesday after Thomas did not appeal the High Court ruling.Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan explained to Guyana Times that because there was no appeal within the stipulated timeframe, he gave the order for the US fugitive to be handed over to authorities there.After being taken back to the US, Thomas was charged with second degree murder on Thursday in a US Court.