Committal day for Ray John et al in passport fraud case

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Today, Monday is the new hearing date for the committal of suspended senior cop Ray John, his mother Yvonne Nickie and his partner Shakema Charles who are accused of conspiracy to commit fraud and larceny.

The matter was called up for hearing on January 31, but the police’s prosecution team asked Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh for an extension as they reportedly needed more time to review the advice they recently received from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

John, an assistant superintendent of police, and Nickie were charged since last April but it was only last month (January) that Charles was added as an accused on the five charges of conspiracy to forge five bio pages of Antigua and Barbuda passports.

It is also alleged that John, who was 45 at the time of his arrest, and Charles, 43, stole scores of Multi Layered Infilling System (MLIS) passport patches valued $21,700.00, the property of the Antigua and Barbuda Passport Office. John is further accused of receiving the same, knowing them to be stolen.

The offences allegedly occurred between October 1, 2014 and April 6, 2018 in Antigua and Barbuda.

The alleged passport scam was uncovered in early April 2018 when the police in St. Vincent intercepted a man at the airport with five bio pages of Antigua and Barbuda passports among other items, to include a large quantity of cash.

The collaborative work between the police from St. Vincent and Antigua led to ASP John’s arrest.

 On April 15, the police pulled his then 63-year-old mother from a flight that was set to depart Antigua, just days after lawmen had searched John’s Gunthropes home and confiscated a number of items as evidence.

At the time, the woman was in Antigua visiting her son, and during the search, they were both told by the cops not to leave the state, yet she proceeded to attempt to leave.

They were subsequently charged and granted bail. Unlike the first two co-accused in the case, Charles was denied bail and remanded to prison when she appeared before the chief magistrate.

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