New court date for men in $35-million money laundering case

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court.jpgChief engineer at the state-run National Energy Solutions (NESOL), 33-year-old Lawrence Pommels, and 34-year-old mechanic, Ricardo Harris, who were arrested after $35 million was allegedly found at premises in Old Harbour , St Catherine on June 7, are to make their first appearance in court on Tuesday, June 19.

The men, who have been charged with money laundering, possession of criminal property, breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act and bribery, were booked to appear in the St Catherine Parish Court on Friday, but the date was pushed back to this week.

Their attorneys are expected to apply for bail when the matter is mentioned on Tuesday.

In addition to the cash, four high-end motor vehicles, including a BMW X6 and an Audi, along with other valuables, were also seized by detectives who raided the homes in Old Harbour.

Pommels, a recent graduate of a local university, was reportedly in charge at NESOL at the time of his arrest. NESOL previously operated as the Rural Electrification Programme, which had its mandate widened from just bringing electricity to rural communities.

What is being described as the culmination of a high-level probe saw investigators from the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Branch as well as the Financial Investigation Division (FID), swooping down on two houses in New Harbour Village last week Thursday, resulting in the cash, motor vehicles and other valuables being seized.

Opposition Spokesman on Energy, Phillip Paulwell, has since indicated that he wants the management of NESOL and officials of the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology to appear before Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee to answer questions in light of the NESOL developments.

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