BUSINESSMAN Hanif Nazim Baksh, who is on bail on a charge of assaulting a media photographer last year, appeared in the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court yesterday charged with obstruction of justice.
Baksh stood before San Fernando magistrate Cherril-Anne Antoine in the First Court. She read the charge that November 9, at Penal, Baksh used threats to influence Khusial Motiram to give false evidence and withhold true evidence relating to two charges of attacking a media photographer.
ASP Joseph Chandool of the Police Complaints Division laid the charge, which was indictable. Therefore, the businessman was not called up to enter a plea. Police arrested Baksh last Thursday and charged him on Saturday. A justice of the peace granted him $150,000 bail at the San Fernando Police Station.
The magistrate yesterday allowed Baksh to remain on the same bail but said a clerk of the peace should approve the bond given the nature of the offence. The bailor was absent from the hearing and Baksh remained in police custody for hours until the bailor arrived and the documents verified.
The magistrate adjourned the case to Tuesday for him to appear in the Siparia Magistrates’ Court. Senior Counsel Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj represented Baksh. On November 10, Baksh appeared before a Siparia magistrate charged with assaulting photographer Kristian De Silva of Guardian Media Ltd, occasioning him actual bodily harm.
Baksh is CEO of A&V Oil & Gas Ltd in Penal, which was at the centre of a fake oil scandal at state-owned Petrotrin. The businessman, a personal friend of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, was also charged with maliciously damaging De Silva’s Canon DSLR camera valued at US$1,600. Last year’s assault charge allegedly occurred on September 15, last year, at Nazim Avenue, San Francique in Penal, where De Silva was covering a story about the company. On the same day it is alleged, Baksh unlawfully and maliciously damaged De Silva’s eyeglasses valued $2,400.
Baksh’s son-in-law Cpl Billy Ramsundar also appeared charged with assaulting De Silva and maliciously damaging his eyeglasses. Supt Ruthven Hodge of the Police Complaints Division laid those charges. Both men were each granted $80,000 bail to cover both charges.