Taxpayers will have to refund accused man’s $21k, as money seized in dismissed forfeiture case has vanished

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room
State Insurance Treasury Building

Source Real News: It appears that taxpayers will have to refund money that wassuspected of being gained through illicit means, as the funds seizedin a forfeiture case have gone missing – while the matter, itself, hasbeen thrown out of court.

Magistrate Ngaio Emanuel had threatened to dismiss the case afterthe Police were unable to produce the more than $21,000 in cashthat was confiscated from a man allegedly caught with marijuana.Allegedly, lawmen also found the accused with EC$18,000 andUS$1,500.

Officers suspected that these funds had been earned through illicitactivity, and therefore sought to have the Court confiscate the fundsthrough forfeiture.

When the matter was initially called, the monies were present incourt but the matter had to be adjourned.

Since that first occasion, however, the monies have not been seen,and the investigator and the prosecutor have been unable to giveaccount for the missing funds.

Blame was laid on a female prosecutor who, it turned out, had hadnothing to do with the case.

It was alleged that the investigator had left the money with theprosecutor after a previous court outing, instead of signing it backin.

That prosecutor had been off island for some time, but has sincereturned to the country and is back on duty.

However, because of the reported close links between the femaleofficer and a senior officer, it is alleged that an internal investigationinto the missing funds – started in August 2023 – was halted.

Now that the matter has been thrown out and taxpayers will beresponsible for paying back the sum, pundits are wonderingwhether the probe will recommence and those responsible for themoney’s disappearance will be held accountable.

Had the accused been convicted, however, the forfeited sums wouldhave gone into the Consolidated Fund.

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