Ruel Reid, Fritz Pinnock and three others arrested

Milton Walker reporting on the arrest of Ruel Reid


In a major development in the corruption probe involving former Education Minister Ruel Reid, the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) and other government entities which fell under Mr Reid's portfolio, Mr. Reid and two members of his family were taken into custody by the police on Wednesday morning.

The police also arrested the CMU’s president, Professor Fritz Pinnock, and Kim Brown Lawrence, councillor for the Brown's Town division of the St Ann Municipal Corporation.

The St Ann residence of Othneil Lawrence, a former Member of Parliament, and currently a CMU employee, was also searched. He has not been detained.

The Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) in a media release, said the operations targeted the main suspects implicated in multi-million dollar corruption and fraudulent schemes perpetrated at the Ministry of Education, CMU and other government entities.

The operations also involved the Financial Investigation Division and the Constabulary Financial Unit of the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Division (CTOC).

The raid

On Wednesday morning, Ruel Reid's home on King's House Avenue in the city's upscale Kingston 6 district was the scene of a pre dawn raid by MOCA, the anti corruption arm of the police force.

At one minute to 5 o'clock Wednesday morning, the former education minister had been alerted by shouts of "Police! Police!"

The MOCA detectives then jumped over the gate to gain access to the premises.

It would be the second time the police have raided one of his homes as in March the police searched and removed items from his College Green residence shortly after he was fired by the Prime Minister.

For just under seven hours, the police searched Reid's residence as they sought to untangle what the police believe to be a web of corruption involving Ruel Reid, his former ministry and the Caribbean Maritime University.

The police parked all their vehicles on the property while they conducted the raid.

Throughout the morning, police officers - some wearing gloves - went in and out of the house and back to the police van.

A few minutes to 9 'oclock, attorney-at-law Carolyn Chuck approached the gate. She was there to see Ruel Reid. She was allowed inside after the police verified she was a lawyer.

Later in the morning, the police drove two of their vehicles to the rear of the premises.

That part of the police operation would end a few minutes before midday with Ruel Reid, his wife Sharen, the legal officer at CMU and his daughter, Sharelle, all driven away in police custody.

They had emerged from their residence covered by a tiger print sheet and were led into a police van parked on the front lawn.

Meanwhile, Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn has said her office did not make any recommendations to the police in relation to Wednesday's operations by the police.
Ms Llewellyn, who spoke on the Morning Agenda on Power 106, said her office had prepared a 13-page opinion that was sent to the Financial Investigations Division (FID), which indicated that more investigation was needed. She said no file was submitted to her office for further review. 
Ms Llewellyn also criticised the release of what she deemed sensitive information about the corruption probes in the public domain.
Most of the information have come through parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC), however, the DPP is of the opinion that these information should have been in the purview of the police.  
She said this could compromise the chances of a successful trial if and when the matter goes to court.


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