JUDGMENT - ICAC V OUMESHLALL RAMSARRAN - 27-04-23 (1)
Oumeshlal Ramsarran was charged under 6 counts for the offence of Money Laundering under section 3(1)(b) of the Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2021 – Act No. 15.
The charges were to the effect that (a) in or about the month of May and July 2016 respectively at Jumbo Phoenix, the accused received Rs 400,000 and Rs 300,000, (b) on or about the mid month of August in 2016 at New Trunk Road (NTR) Nouvelle France the accused received Rs 400,000, (c) that on or about the end of the month of August 2016 at Jumbo Phoenix the accused received Rs 400,000, (d) that on or about the month of September 2016 at the Parking of Orchard Tower Quatre Bornes, the accused received Rs 400,000 and that on orabout the month of November in 2016 at Bonne Terre Vacoas opposite Toyota Mauritius the accused transferred Rs 400,000. According to the prosecution, the sums of money were proceeds of crime and that the accused had reasonable grounds to suspect that the money was derived in whole or in part, directly or indirecfly from a crime. In all six counts, the accused allegedly received and transferredthe sums of money by the intermediary of one Fabio Tony Riacca.
In its judgment the court writes that “The testimony of Riacca which runs through almost forty-seven pages is essentially about “mo pas rapelle” and “oui” or “non.” In other words, Riacca, does not say much unless his memory is prompted each and every time by the prosecution. Riacca confirms the prosecution’s questions but with a sense of disinterestedness.”
The court concluded that the prosecution had not been able to prove that the accused was even present on the location where the alleged transactions occurred and that none of the prosecution witnesses had stated convincingly that there was money in the bag and that the property was “indeed proceeds of crime.”
The court also came to a finding that the main witness of the prosecution “was not a credible witness and on the basis of his testimony which does not exclude the possibility that he may have an axe to grind, this court finds that it would be unsafe to convict the accused. Furthermore, there are substantial qualms as regards the enquiry itself. In fact, the accused himself was never taken on the spots where the alleged offence occurred. He never attended any reconstruction exercise. A police enquiry is not a “fait accompli” the person must be confronted properly with the case against him. For these reasons, the accused is given the benefit of doubt and the charges against him in the present information are accordingly dismissed.”