MOCA agent details arrests of former Petrojam officials Singh and Grindley – Jamaica Observer

A senior special agent of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) on Wednesday detailed the steps she followed leading up to the arrest and charge of former chairman of Petrojam Dr Perceval Singh and former general manager Floyd Grindley for allegedly defrauding the state-run oil refinery.
Dr Singh is accused of claiming for overseas trips which he did not undertake, between December 2016 and May 2018, while Grindley is accused of aiding and abetting him. The claims amounted to more than US$73,000.
MOCA special agent, Latoya Linton, told the trial of the two former Petrojam officials in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court that she took over the case from a detective sergeant, after he left the agency in June 2019.
“I inherited the investigation from him. It was in relation to an alleged obtaining money by false pretense by former employees of Petrojam,” she told the Court.
Linton, a former detective sergeant of police, hit the ground running in June 2019 when she assumed her new role.
“The case file contained several witness statements and documents. I prepared the affidavit and examined the contents of the case file and sought the necessary legal advice. I prepared an affidavit on court order under section 37 of the Evidence Act. The court order was signed by a parish judge in Kingston and St Andrew,” she explained.
“The court order related to obtaining account information from Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) in relation to Perceval Singh. I obtained this order on August 25, 2019 and I served the order on the compliance manager for JMMB. There was a response on September 10, 2019. I received a statement from the compliance manager at JMMB and also the account information of Perceval Singh.
“I included the material on the case file. I also sent a request to the joint regional communications centre in Barbados for travel history for Perceval Singh. I sent the request shortly after the court order was served. I received a statement from the executive director and the travel history accompanying same. With all the information I gathered, I prepared the file and sent it to the DPP for her advice.”
Senior special agent Linton said she conducted interviews with several witnesses, including Petrojam employees.
“I recorded interviews and further statements. I conducted these interviews around 2020. I included the statements on the case file and submitted them to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to get legal advice as to how to proceed with charges. I submitted the file to the DPP prior to 2020 and as we got additional information, we sent it to the DPP,” she said, pointing out that it was a three-member investigative team.
According to the senior special agent, in 2020, MOCA received a ruling on the matter from the DPP, which was that charges were to be laid against the two former Petrojam officials.
“I communicated that information through my managers, who communicated with attorney-at-law Bert Samuels and King’s Counsel KD Knight to get Perceval Signh and Floyd Grindley to make themselves available for questioning and formal charges to be laid.
“In March 2020, Mr Singh attended MOCA at 2A Oxford Road Kingston 5, accompanied by his attorney at law Mr Samuels. I conducted a formal question and answer interview. A total of 82 questions were asked. At the end of the interview, Mr Singh was formally charged for obtaining money by false pretense. He was cautioned and when cautioned he said I am innocent. His attorney was present. He was arrested and charged and escorted to the Cross Roads Police Station and offered station bail.”
Following the arrest and charge of Dr Singh, Grindley was next to be charged.
“Grindley attended the agency accompanied by his attorney Bianca Samuels. I conducted a formal interview and at the end, he was formally charged for aiding and abetting Dr Singh. He was cautioned and he made no statement. Mr Grindley too was escorted to the Cross Roads Police Station and offered station bail.”
In twist of events, Linton said that on October 27, 2021, she received additional legal advice from the prosecutor in the case as well as the DPP. This led to the initial charges being dropped and new charges proferred.
“Having gotten the advice, I met Mr Singh and Grindley at the Half-Way-Tree Police Station where I laid more charges on Mr Singh. These were conspiracy to defraud, fraudulent conversion and obtaining money by false presences. He was accompanied by Mr Grindley. I cautioned Mr Singh and he made no statement. I then laid additional charges on Mr Floyd Grindley for conspiracy to defraud, fraudulent conversion and obtaining money by false pretence. He was also cautioned and made no statement.”
According to the witness, external inquirers, meaning outside of Jamaica, were made for further statements to help form the case.
“I made inquiries in the United Kingdom (UK) for a further statement from a detective in UK and I made inquiries in Brazil. I did get the statement from UK from Mr Benedict (UK detective) and from a law enforcement agency in Brazil. Rafael Salaroni was the law enforcement officer in Brazil. I made checks in the United States of America for travel records as well. I did receive some additional information.We made internal checks at the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) to confirm travel records for Perceval Singh as well.
“We were given a statement from a senior person at PICA on the travel records. We made additional checks in Canada. I got a statement from Canada and that statement was recorded by one of our officers. All the material was included on the case file.”
According to Linton, MOCA then turned its attention to the Companies Office of Jamaica, to request the annual returns of Petrojam.
“All the material was included in our case file. Kevin Senior, who was the Information Technology manager at the Ministry of Science Energy and Technology. I interviewed him and recorded a statement. He also provided printed copies of an email thread on which he initialed. It was numbered 1 to 11. All the documents and statement I received from him were included in the case file as well. I made arrangements with potential witnesses in preparation for the trial and I sat in most of the pre-trial interviews. I called other officers to sit in these interviews.”
After the prosecution ended its examination of the witness, attorney-at-law Bert Samuels, who is representing Perceval Singh, tested Linton’s knowledge of the case.
Samuels quizzed Linton on whether she knew that Grindley and Dr Singh, who both reside in the United States, flew into Jamaica just to report to MOCA to be charged.
“I am aware. When I prepared the case file I saw that both are residents in the United States,” explained.
She continued her evidence, telling the court that she did not cause as a condition of bail for their travel documents to be taken away and the judge allowed them to retain the travel documents. She said she also was aware that every time they attend court, they leave the US to come to Jamaica.
She also indicated that she was aware that from 2016 to 2018 when Dr Singh served as chairman, he attended meetings at Petrojam leaving from the United States to Jamaica.
Regarding the occasion when both Grindley and Dr Singh were summoned to the Half-Way-Tree Police Station to have additional charges laid against them, Linton told Samuels and the Court, a prosecutor communicated that recommendation during a meeting.
“I don’t recall the number of people who were at the meeting. The meeting included the prosecutor and the legal officers.
“While the meeting was being held the accused were already charged and facing the court. I am aware Dr Singh had to pay back,” she said, highlighting that she didn’t know of a specific communication between Telroy Morgan and another individual which sought to explain certain details crucial to the case.
The special agent was shown a copy of the communication between Morgan and the other witness.
“I did not take a statement from (the other individual). I did not interview him at any time. I have never seen that letter. I would have included it in on the case file if I knew about it.
“At no point was I aware that (the other individual) gave Morgan an explanatory note regarding Dr Singh.”
King’s Counsel KD Knight took his turn at cross examining the witness. He asked her what happened to the first charge that was laid against the two former officials and whether the men were rearrested when she sought to slap the additional charges on them.
“I believe they were thrown out by the court. I got instructions to lay new charges. Those instructions came from the DPP but not in writing. The DPP gave me the instructions via verbal communication from the DPP Miss Llewellyn. I, under section 37 of the Evidence Act asked for the travel records of Dr Singh. I examined the documents. I did not give a statement in relation to my examination,” she said.
She added that she did not use the same Act to get the bank records of Mr Grindley.
“You are correct that I have not recorded in any places, any finding of money moving from the account of Mr Singh to an account of Mr Grindley. It was an important part of my investigation see if money was moving from Singh to Grindley but I didn’t record any statements that I had not found that.”
King’s Counsel Knight indicated that it was the defence’s view that (the other individual) should be called in as a witness due to his importance to the case, although the prosecution indicated that they no longer sought Chambers as a witness in the matter.
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