Former government minister Marlene McDonald’s long-time companion Michael Carew and another man charged alongside the couple for corruption and money laundering, encountered yet another obstacle on Tuesday in accessing bail.
Sources at the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court told Guardian Media that the Clerk of the Peace yesterday rejected the two potential bailors who were selected to secure their bail.
Carew and Wayne Anthony’s families will now have to find other bailors, who own property valued higher than their bail and who have not used them to secure bail for anyone else. The duo remained incarcerated at the Port-of-Spain State Prison, up to late yesterday.
McDonald, Carew, Anthony, Victor McEachrane and Edgar Zephyrine are facing 49 charges over attempts to defraud the government by allegedly procuring funds Carew’s Calabar Foundation, and two other NGOs, under the guise that it was going to be used for charitable projects. All of the defendants, except McDonald, first appeared in court on August 12.
McDonald, 61, is facing seven charges: two for conspiracy to defraud, four for misbehaviour in public office and one for money laundering. She was granted $2 million bail and was only secured her freedom last Friday from the St Clair Medical Centre where she was warded after being charged last Sunday.
Carew, 72, was slapped with eight charges-three conspiracy to defraud and five money laundering.
He was granted $500,000 bail.
Zephyrine, 75, the former chairman of the National Commission of Self Help, was charged with 28 charges: one for conspiracy to defraud and 27 money laundering. He was granted $1 million bail.
McEachrane was slapped with three fraud charges and three money laundering charges, while Anthony was charged with one money laundering offence. McEachrane and Anthony were both were granted $400,000 and $100,000 bail, respectively.
McEachrane was the first to access his bail as it was approved within hours of the group’s court appearance. Two days later, Zephyrine was released from custody. McDonald fell ill before her initial court appearance and bail was granted in her absence.
Carew and Anthony have been facing problems with accessing their bail since they appeared before Chief Magistrate Maria Busby-Earle-Caddle, last Monday.
During the preliminary hearing, Busby-Earle-Caddle rejected an attempt by Carew to use 72-year-old Thomas Charles as his bailor. Her decision was based on the fact that the elderly man could not recall the date and other basic information when he was questioned by her.
Carew and Anthony then attempted to get approval of their bail between Friday and Monday, but were delayed as the Clerk of the Peace was absent from work on both days. The group is scheduled to reappear before Busby-Earle-Caddle on September 9.
Reporter: Derek Achong