|Billionaire’s son to testify against pastor |
By AZARD ALI Friday, September 24 2010
THE son of deceased American billionaire Buford B Keaton, who is purported to have left 50 billion pound sterling to local pastor Vishnu Lutchmansingh, will arrive in Trinidad and Tobago later this year to testify in fraud cases against the pastor.
Lutchmansingh’s fraud cases came up on Wednesday before Deputy Chief Magistrate Mark Wellington in the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court. Keaton, who was from the US state of Kentucky and died in 1996, has a son named Doyen Keaton.
This was revealed in documents, in which Doyen Keaton filed a witness statement in the case on behalf of the prosecution. The sworn statement was filed through the battery of attorneys prosecuting Lutchmansingh, who is facing charges of purporting to Nutrimix CEO Shaheed Mohammed that he was the beneficiary of ?50 billion from the estate of Keaton.
Lutchmansingh, the founder of Faith Sanctuary Family Ministries, is facing 87 fraud charges. He is on $4 million bail. When the case was called before Wellington, State prosecutor Sophia Chote, told Wellington that witness statements would be available for Lutchmansingh’s attorneys to determine whether they want to cross-examine witnesses. The State and the defence have agreed to a paper committal and as a result, there will be no preliminary inquiry but a trial by jury in the High Court.
Attorneys Sash Permanand and Jagdeo Singh are defending the charges against Lutchmansingh.
Doyen Keaton’s statement was filed on August 20, and in it he dealt with the issue of his father’s signature. Another witness statement filed by the prosecution was from handwriting expert Glen Pamassar. He is a scientific officer at the Forensic Sciences Centre and his statement was filed on July 16.
Another statement was filed, on August 12, by US investigator Ian Withers who also addressed the issue of Keaton’s signature.
The case is being partly-heard before Senior Magistrate Indra Ramoo-Haynes in which witness statements have been exchanged between attorneys on both sides.
Wellington adjourned the case to October 29 when Ramoo-Haynes would be available to adjudicate.