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Ruel Reid, Fritz Pinnock et al secure bail

Hugh Wildman, the attorney representing Professor Fritz Pinnock
 
Former Education Minister Ruel Reid, his wife Sharen and their daughter Sharelle secured bail following their appearance in the St. Andrew Parish Court Thursday morning.
 
Their co-accused Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) President Fritz Pinnock has also taken up bail.
 
Councillor for the Brown's Town Division in St. Ann Kim Brown Lawrence was also trying to take up bail.
 
It is alleged that former education minister and his co-accused defrauded the Caribbean Maritime University of more than $55 million and just over $1 million from the Ministry of Education.
 
The charges against the accused were read out by Clerk of Court Hansurd Lawson prior to bail applications.
 
He said Mr. Reid is charged with possession of criminal property, conspiracy to defraud, engaging in transaction involving criminal property, misconduct in public office and corruption.
 
Mr. Reid's wife and daughter are charged with possession of criminal property and conspiracy to defraud while Kim Brown Lawrence is also charged with possession of criminal property and conspiracy to defraud.
 
Mr. Pinnock has been charged with conspiracy to defraud, engaging in transaction involving criminal property, misconduct in public office and corruption. 
 
He was on Thursday granted bail in the sum of $2 million with surety when he appeared in the Corporate Area Criminal Court.
 
Mr. Reid was granted bail in the sum of $3 million with surety, his wife Sharen in the sum of $1 million, while their daughter Sharelle was offered bail in the sum of $500,000.
 
Councillor Kim Brown Lawrence was offered bail in the sum of $1 million.
 
They were all ordered to surrender their travel documents and report twice weekly to the police.
 
The judge also ordered that they be fingerprinted and not be seen at the Ministry of Education or Caribbean Maritime University.
 
Mr. Reid and Professor Pinnock appeared in court about 10:15.
 
The court house was full as persons waited for the cases to be mentioned.
 
Mr. Reid sat beside his wife.
 
During the hearing, it was alleged that Mr. Reid and Mr. Pinnock conspired to have persons paid by the CMU for work performed personally for the former Education Minister.
 
It is alleged that an account was opened by Mr. Reid's helper and the debit card taken over by Mr. Reid's daughter to facilitate salary payments from the Ministry of Education.
 
It was also alleged that Mr. Reid's wife received in excess of $1 million from the account opened by the helper. 
 
It is also alleged that Mr. Reid used his office to influence Professor Pinnock to employ his wife and other persons to the CMU.
 
The matter will again be heard on January 23.
 
No evidence
 
Hugh Wildman, the attorney representing Professor Fritz Pinnock said there is no evidence to support corruption allegations against his client.
 
Speaking with RJR News following Wednesday morning's bail hearing Mr. Wildman described the case against his client as a big gun without a bullet. 
 
"It's just reading out allegations based on what they have charged the persons with. But I know, based on what was asked of Professor Pinnock yesterday, 99 questions were asked and 90 per cent of those questions were not related to the charges. So clearly, it seems to me that what was happening was a fishing expedition that they embarked on yesterday and clearly what they had before was not sufficient," he asserted.  
 
Mr. Wildman said it appears that the police were under pressure to come up with charges in the corruption case.
 
He also took issue with how the police conducted Wednesday's arrest, arguing that the persons are well-know and easily accessed, therefore to have "done it this way - this gestapo type operation - it clearly shows malice and evil intent." 
 
 


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