UPDATE: Millions more seized from pastor's church

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According to the Trinidad Guardian, the Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Branch(FIB) in­ves­ti­ga­tors were yes­ter­day with count­ing “mil­lions of dol­lars” they seized from the Third Ex­o­dus As­sem­bly Church in Long­denville head­ed by Pas­tor Vin­worth Day­al on Thurs­day evening.

Se­nior in­ves­ti­ga­tors said on­ly a few bags had been count­ed and the es­ti­mat­ed sum so far is just over $1 mil­lion with “sev­er­al oth­er mon­ey bags con­tain­ing $20, $10, $5 and $1 notes still to be count­ed.”

The lat­est raid was con­duct­ed by of­fi­cers of the FIB as they widened their in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to the fi­nan­cial op­er­a­tions of the church.

Of­fi­cers of the FIB spent sev­er­al hours yes­ter­day with the as­sis­tance of sev­er­al bill count­ing ma­chines to check the mon­ey re­cov­ered at the Long­denville Church.

“It’s a long process and there are still sev­er­al bags to be count­ed,” said a source fa­mil­iar with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to an­oth­er se­nior po­lice source, the mon­ey has to be count­ed with­in 96 hours so the law­men can go to court and ob­tain a de­ten­tion or­der to have the mon­ey law­ful­ly de­tained for three months un­der the Pro­ceeds and Crime Act so they can pur­sue fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions. The po­lice had to go to the court be­fore the count­ing of the $29 mil­lion that was brought in by Pas­tor Day­al on De­cem­ber 31 to en­sure the amount could be law­ful­ly de­tained be­fore the De­cem­ber 31 dead­line. If this had not been done the mon­ey would no longer have been rec­og­nized as le­gal ten­der.

Of­fi­cers from the FIB are in­ves­ti­gat­ing an in­ci­dent in which the pas­tor at­tempt­ed to change close to $29 mil­lion in old $100 bills on De­cem­ber 31. That mon­ey has been seized by the po­lice.

On Thurs­day, in­ves­ti­ga­tors al­so went to A La Ro­maine house oc­cu­pied by the pas­tor’s rel­a­tives where they seized doc­u­ments. At the church, in­ves­ti­ga­tors said they found large sums of $20, $10, $5 and $1 notes in a large cab­i­net.

They found thou­sands of en­velopes that con­tained tithes, ac­cord­ing to Pas­tor Day­al, who was present dur­ing the search. The pas­tor ex­plained that there were large brown en­velopes with small­er white en­velopes in­side. The white en­velopes con­tained old $100 bills that were re­moved to be ex­changed and the brown en­velopes con­tained all the “oth­er types of bills.”

Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young said on De­cem­ber 5that the new poly­mer $100 bill would help au­thor­i­ties in their fight against mon­ey laun­der­ing and oth­er il­le­gal op­er­a­tions. The pub­lic was ad­vised to change their old $100 bills for the new poly­mer ban­knotes by De­cem­ber 31, 2019. How­ev­er, the pas­tor came un­der scruti­ny af­ter he tried to change close to $29 mil­lion on the fi­nal day.

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