$30m pastor returns to court

Pastor Vinworth Anthony Dayal.
Pastor Vinworth Anthony Dayal.

EIGHTEEN witness statements have been filed by the prosecution in the case involving La Romaine pastor Vinworth Dayal, who was slapped with two charges in July.

The charges alleged that the $28 million-plus in $100 cotton bills that he tried to get exchanged at the Central Bank in 2019 were proceeds of criminal property.

Dayal appeared virtually before Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Nigel Pilgrim told the chief magistrate there were six more witness statements to be filed and served by December 10.

Evidential objections are expected to be filed in January and Dayal will return to court in March 2022.

The charges against the pastor are that on December 31, 2019, he possessed criminal property in the amount of $28,028,600 in TT currency, which represented in whole, or in part, a pecuniary advantage to himself as a result of criminal conduct contrary to the Income Tax Act, knowing or having reasonable grounds to suspect that those proceeds were criminal property.

The second charge alleges he was in possession of $2,691,338, on January 2, 2020.

Both charges were laid under Section 45(1)(b) of the Proceeds of Crime Act and were laid 18 months after he tried to exchange the money, which has since been held in an interest-bearing account.

Dayal was granted $10 million bail to cover the two charges. He is represented by attorneys Pamela Elder, SC, Richard Mason and Ann Marie Phillip.

December 31, 2019 was the last day on which Central Bank said it would accept cotton $100 bills to exchange for new polymer bills.

Dayal, who heads the Third Exodus Assembly Church in Longdenville, Chaguanas, went to the bank with close to $28 million to exchange, in 28 boxes.

Police were called in after he could not provide proper documentation for how he got the money. He said it came from tithes which he collected over the years.

Police searched his house at Ocean Avenue, Gulf View, La Romaine and seized an additional $2 million in smaller bills.

The $100 cotton notes are no longer legal tender.


"$30m pastor returns to court"

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