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The new Financial Crimes Commission has seized the Supreme Court. It is asking to confiscate the equivalent of Rs 270 million in foreign currency and local currency, seized from the former Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam in February 2015.

The Financial Crimes Commission (FCC) has filed an unexplained wealth application in the Supreme Court against former Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam. The commission, represented by its Director General Navin Beekarry, is seeking an Unexplained Wealth Order to confiscate the following amounts: US$3,140,939, Rs100,833,864, Euros515,782, Pounds46,191, a Mercedes Benz S400 Hybrid and two American Express Centurion cards. In total, the commission wants to recover approximately Rs270 million in foreign currency and local currency.

Alternatively, the FCC is requesting that Navin Ramgoolam pay the monetary equivalent of these assets. The FCC’s request is based on sections 117(1) and 119(3) of the Financial Crimes Commission Act (FCC Act). The case will be heard on July 25, 2024 before the court.

In its complaint, the FCC alleges that on February 6, 2015, following a search warrant, police seized large sums of money in Mauritian rupees and foreign currency at Navin Ramgoolam's residence in Riverwalk, Vacoas, and in Port Louis. Among them was an envelope with the inscription “Vickram Bhunjun.”

In December 2017, the now-defunct Integrity Reporting Services Agency (IRSA) ordered Navin Ramgoolam to justify the origin of this money, as well as the funds used for “the acquisition of several vehicles and American Express Centurion cards.”

The FCC points out that the Red leader claimed that the majority of the funds belong to the Labor Party. However, this explanation did not satisfy the FCC, which wants substantial evidence to justify these funds. In March 2018, the FCC continues in its complaint, the former IRSA applied to the summary judge for an order of unexplained wealth. Although this request was initially rejected, the FCC took up the case again after the proclamation of the FCC Act 2023 and withdrew its appeal to file a new application before the competent court, as ordered by the judge in Chambers.

The FCC is represented in the case by Messrs Atish Roopchand, Homanaden Ponen and Bibi Mahejabeen Chatoo (solicitors). The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Commissioner of Police, are named as co-respondents in the case.


Amended complaint: Attorney Preetam Chuttoo cites professional embarrassment

On Monday, 8 July 2024, Solicitor Preetam Chuttoo filed a motion to withdraw in a case between Navin Ramgoolam and the State. The said motion was filed on his behalf and on behalf of Advocate Ali Hajee Abdoula. This was at the appeal of the case before Chief Justice Bibi Rehana Mungly-Gulbul.

Attorney Preetam Chuttoo cited “professional embarrassment” due to a “disagreement” with Atish Roopchand, the legal advisor to the Financial Crimes Commission (FCC). The disagreement, the attorney explained, concerned the scope of his mandate, as well as that of Ali Hajee Abdoula. Their services had been retained by the defunct Integrity Reporting Services Agency (IRSA). However, Navin Ramgoolam’s complaint was amended to now challenge the provisions of the FCC Act, with the functions of IRSA having been transferred to the FCC. The attorney cited a letter, dated July 5, 2024, from Atish Roopchand. The letter states: “The Commission reserves its rights to take any action it may deem fit and proper in the circumstances. “This statement, argues Me Preetam Chuttoo, is perceived by lawyer Hajee Abdoula and himself as “a threat” to the point that they believe they are no longer able to continue representing the FCC in this case.

FCC Assistant Director of Corporate Affairs Karuna Persand opposed Chuttoo’s motion. The chief judge invited the FCC representatives to settle their dispute pending the next hearing on July 15, 2024.

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