Jephthah Ford found guilty of corruption

Observer staff reporter

Friday, August 18, 2017

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POPULAR medical doctor Jephthah Ford was yesterday found guilty of corruption after he tried to bribe a police officer to release two Surinamese men who were caught in 2014 with nearly $60 million.

Dr Ford was found guilty on two counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice by Parish Judge Simone Wolfe Reece in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court.

He is to return to court on August 22 when a date will be set for sentencing.

Prosecutor Joel Brown led evidence during the 10-day trial, which started last May, that Dr Ford was caught on camera offering 40 per cent of the money seized to a police officer in exchange for the release of the Surinamese and the funds.

The two foreigners — Roshen Daniels and Murvin Reingould — were held after police intercepted a motor vehicle on Half-Way-Tree Road in St Andrew on April 7 and found US$533,886 and $1.3 million.

The men were later taken to their apartment where the police seized an additional US$3,000, $700 and 55 Surinamese dollars.

The two were subsequently charged with possession of criminal property and conspiracy to possess criminal property, but were freed of the charges when they appeared in court.

The main witness, Sergeant Franklyn McLaren, testified during the trial that while the men were in custody, Dr Ford contacted him and requested a meeting to discuss the case.

The officer, who was wearing a covert video and audio camera, met with the doctor, who he said asked for the case against the men to be dismissed and the confiscated funds returned in exchange for 25 per cent of the money, but later agreed to give him 40 per cent of the sum.

However, Dr Ford, in his defence, told the court that he was trying to assist the Surinamese men by preventing them from going into custody because they were going to be killed by police.

He also told the court that he knew that he was being recorded but did it to “draw out corrupt cops”.

But Parish Judge Wolfe Reece, in handing down her verdict, said that she believed the sergeant's version of the evidence and found him to be a witness of truth.

She also noted that, while citizens have a right to ensure that justice is done, there is a right way to achieve justice.

“We can't tolerate people taking things into their own hands,” she said.




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