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On October 31st 2013, the corruption scandal involving former employees of the Social Investment Fund and the construction of the Dangriga Municipal Market went off the radar after the Immigration scandal involving former Minister of State Elvin Penner took the spot light putting the Barrow administration in much scrutiny.

If you recall, contractor Kenard Smart owner of K and J Construction, Lyndon Bailey and Gush and Emy Ramirez were joining forces to sue SIF in an effort to recover monies invested in the rehabilitation of the Dangriga Municipal Market for which Smart got a contract for and Lyndon Bailey and Gush and Emy Ramirez investment in.

Tonight there are new developments into the matter which make the case even more complicated because two of the investors have parted ways. CTV3 News understands that Gush and Emy Ramirez who invested over half a million dollars for Smart to receive the contract is seeking to have him criminally charged for fraud. According to investor Emy Ramirez, Kenard Smart acted unlawfully. Here is how she explains it.

Victor Castillo – Reporter

“Why do you think that Mr. Smart should be charged criminally for fraud?”

Emy Ramirez - Gush & Emy

“Because he took two lands that he should have charge to us that was used as partial security when we entered into the agreement to finance the SIF project. We became aware that he sold the properties in February of this year to to two individuals and that should have never happened, those two properties should have been charged to us and therefore that is obviously fraud.”

Victor Castillo – Reporter

“But why is it that Mr. Smart should have charged the properties to you, you saying that you have invested with him, partnered with him for the investment with SIF, tell us a little bit more in details what project and what is the amount of monies you invested?”

Screen_Shot_2014-08-13_at_8.26.26_PMEmy Ramirez - Gush & Emy

“The project was I respect to the Dangriga Market, the refurbishment of the Dangriga Market, and we went on board as financiers so we entered into a contract with Kenneth Smart and the two parcels were partial security of the amount of money that was invested to see the project to completion.”

Victor Castillo – Reporter

“And what is the value, what is the amount that you all financed or invested?”

Emy Ramirez - Gush & Emy

“What we have invested or what have incurred have been more than half a million dollars and it doesn’t include the other stipulations in the agreement which should have included a hundred thousand for the project and other things that are there in other legal fees and other expenses that are to be involve and it is incurring cost daily.”

Victor Castillo – Reporter

“How is it or why it is that Mr. Smart didn’t transfer the properties into your name?”

Emy Ramirez - Gush & Emy

“Mr. Smart, after the whole thing had happened with SIF, it was difficult to get Mr. Smart and he had claimed that he don’t want to damage his party and he was very much upset because there was things that I was questioning and so he for some reason and there is proof to that and there are other people that can attest to that where he refuse to meet and to have this matter been looked after.”

The two parcels that Gush and Emy is talking about are parcels 8361 located in Belmopan and parcel 675 situated between the Villages of Carolina and Calcutta in the Corozal District. The overall total allegedly owed to Gush and Emy by Smart is between five hundred thousand to a million Belize dollars.  But the story doesn’t end there; in fact it gets more complicated. According to Ramirez, she since the month of June she has made several reports to the Corozal Police Department in hope of having Smart arrested and charged for fraud but Smart is yet to be picked up and Ramirez is not happy about it so much so that she has even accused the Corozal Police Department of being incompetent.

Emy Ramirez – Gush & Emy

“I made a report on the 4th of June and we also provided all the material evidence because we went to Belmopan and we paid the six hundred dollars to get the certified copy and gave a copy to the CIB investigating person and at that same day Mr. Ramirez told me that the matter was civil because he said that he had, the matter was out of the statutory limitation and he quoted the summary jurisdiction procedure act #99 so he said it was six month within the statutory limitation so I told him if that is so the contract with Mr. Smart was done on the 20th of June 2014 here in Corozal signed by the Commissioner of the Supreme Court but the act of fraud was committed in February of 2014 so he said he would have sent this matter to the DPP but surely in my view I mean the law enforcers and that is why I stated about the incompetence.”

But as they say, there are two sides to every story so we went looking for the police’s version. When reporter Victor Castillo visited Officer Commanding the Corozal Police Formation Andrew Ramirez he responded to the accusations made against his department.

Andrew Ramirez – OC Corozal

“First of all, I want to say that the matter with Miss Emy Gilharry Ramirez calling the officer commanding incompetent would be one out of thirty thousand inhabitants of Corozal so that is basically nothing much I really want to say about that, in regards about the complains made by Mrs. Gilharry, she came in June and making a complaint about some monies that she some other party had move from transaction to transaction in 2013, she found out about it and came in 2014 to make her complaint, I had informed Mrs. Ramirez about the statute of limitation, I further inform her that an investigation would have been conducted and mater would have been sent to the DPP for directives and because of the statute of limitation, she was further informed that the documents that she had were all copies, in order for a proper investigation they must be authentic and original documents, I refer the matter to our CIB section where we found out that it is a matter that occurred in Orange Walk, the transactions with both individuals, the deputy commanding officer, assistant superintendent Tillett has been informed about the situation and the documents should have been with that formation by now, I cannot confirm if that is so because I know there and then it is a matter of a civil nature but it would appear and there are more questions to be asked as to the conduct of Mrs. Ramirez as well as her motive in wanting to see the other party basically with handcuff around town very strange, you know, there is always ulterior motives behind those kind of person with mentality like that.”

Victor Castillo –Reporter

“Have you questioned Mr. Smart in respect to this?”

Andrew Ramirez – OC Corozal

“No, what happened is that I guide myself through the experience as a police officer, I knew that it is a civil matter is a thin line that the police then may try to infringes in a person’s constitutional rights; for example if we question Mr. Smart (1) if we just walk into his property he can deny us entry because it is not a criminal matter and that is the reason why at this point in time see no need to question Mr. Smart but I ask you the media to do that and let Mr. smart to explain the situation.”

And that is precisely what our reporter in Corozal did but when we visited Smart’s office located in Santa Rita Heights, Corozal, we were informed that Smart was on a week holiday. We will keep following this story and bring you the details as they develop. 

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