Court freezes assets of three formerly accused of money laundering

The High Court in Roseau
The High Court in Roseau

The State has discontinued all criminal proceedings against them after the court ruled in their favour in a judicial review matter.

But they are not yet out of the woods since the State filed civil proceedings which have frozen their assets.

Jhawnie Gage, his mother Arah Paula Cecil Davis and Edgar Peltier were arrested and committed to stand trial at the high court on money laundering charges but the matter was discontinued.

Thinking that it was all over the State filed civil proceedings against them under the Proceeds of Crime Act, Chap 12:29, Revised Laws of the Commonwealth of Dominica as amended by the Proceeds of Crime (Amendment) Act No 7 of 2013.

In documents filed by the court, DOMHCV NO 387 of 2014 dated December 23, 2014, High Court Judge, Errol Thomas granted, an ex parte order freezing the assets of Gage, Davis and Peltier.

The court ordered that monies held in the name of Jhawnie Gage at the National Bank of Dominica (NCB), Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) all be frozen along with his house, its contents, cell phones, a 28-foot fiberglass pirogue and a long list of other items.

They were also ordered to inform the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in writing within 72 hours of service of the Order of all their assets whether in or outside Dominica and whether these assets are in their own name or not and whether solely or jointly owned. They are to give the value, location and details of all such assets.

The court also ordered that all three respondents must confirm the information in “a Witness Statement which must be verified by a certificate of truth and served on the FIU within 21 days after this Order has been served on them.”

The Witness Statement, the court ordered, must include the name and address of “all persons including financial institutions holding and such assets; details of current salary, if any, or other form of income, identifying the amount paid, by whom it is paid and the account or accounts into which it is paid.”

The three have also been ordered to give details of all assets over EC$2,000.00 in value received by them or anyone on their behalf since May 2007 and must identify the name and address of the person from which such assets were received.

It is further ordered that the High Court order remain in effect until further notice or another order is made from the court

“If you Jhawnie Gage, Arah Paula Cecil Davis and or Edgar Augustus Peltier, fail to comply with the terms of this order, proceedings may be commenced against you for contempt of court and you may be liable to be imprisoned,” the order reads.

David Bruney is lawyer for Peltier while Zena Moore Dyer and Gina Dyer-Munro, represent Gage and Davis.

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36 Comments

  1. Abel Mocker
    January 16, 2015

    Re-post – we Dominicans are adopting American methods … meanwhile they are moving away from these unfair laws

    Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Friday barred local and state police from using federal law to seize cash, cars and other property without proving that a crime occurred.

    Holder’s action represents the most sweeping check on police power to confiscate personal property since the seizures began three decades ago as part of the war on drugs ..

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/holder-ends-seized-asset-sharing-process-that-split-billions-with-local-state-police/2015/01/16/0e7ca058-99d4-11e4-bcfb-059ec7a93ddc_story.html?hpid=z1

    .. The Post found that local and state police routinely pulled over drivers for minor traffic infractions, pressed them to agree to warrantless searches and seized large amounts of cash without evidence of wrongdoing. The law allows such seizures and forces the owners to prove their property was legally acquired in order to…

  2. Chakademus
    January 16, 2015

    Dominicans should be outraged. It’s not just about the (formerly) accused. With that pernicious law the government can just seize people’s properties with no proof of guilt, only suspicion. The thing is suspicion can be way off the mark. The reason we have the court system is to ensure that people can only be deprived of life, liberty and property only upon properly establishing the facts in a court of law. We think they are guilty but that has not been established beyond doubt.

    Under this kind of forfeiture law, there is nothing preventing the government or police from accusing an innocent person of some crime and seizing their property. Nothing. We are all in danger and we should demand that the law be rescinded.

  3. SOS
    January 16, 2015

    This it total Bull, the court can’t make such order on the defendants.
    The prosecution alleges that the defendants assets are proceeds of crime and its there job to prove it.
    Not the defendants job to provide evidence for the prosecution to prosecute them.
    He who allergies must prove, that the LAW, not he who is accused must disprove.

    Why didn’t the court ordered the defendants of the Dual Citizen case in 2011 to present documents/information that could incriminate them??

    The court seems to be prejudice.

    I am not a supporter of the defendants but the just saying that the court have to do what’s right and legal.
    Hope their lawyers are looking at things from my prospective.

  4. ian
    January 16, 2015

    don’t be foolish, these assets were not hard earn. Dominicans are too loose with their words or should I say they don’t know the meaning of words or phrases.

  5. Titiwi
    January 16, 2015

    So, if they won their case in court how come the government can still grab their assets? Maybe they are guilty, I don’t know, but you to prove that in court according to senior counsel. I find that very dangerous. Can government just come any take anybody’s things and you have to sue them to get it back? Boy, let me tell you put your house in your wife’s name and keep your money offshore.

  6. The Facts
    January 15, 2015

    Dominican financial institutions should be held accountable if they are aware that this was a money laundering situation and did not report it. They should ask questions and not accept it before it can be ascertained that this money was legally obtained, as other businesses as also contractors.
    They know where the money originated from. If they are suspicious, the police should be immediately informed. If they fail to do this, they should be charged and their license revoked.
    Some of you will say that Dominica is not Canada. However, I am informing you in this era those who are involved in money laundering will not get away. When a certain amount of money is transferred to banks or deposited, they will question it. If they are suspicious they will call the police. The customer will have to prove where he/she obtained the money. If they can’t, they will be arrested for money laundering and/or theft of money. Police investigations usually prove where the money originated…

  7. The Facts
    January 15, 2015

    It should indicate to everyone who is sane and sensible and who use their fair judgment that those people who amassed all these material goods as also house, furnishings and vehicles procured the money from somewhere. If they are not employed and for an exorbitant sum of money or did not inherit such an amount of money they could not possibly have procured them legally.
    If they are not employed and for a certain income, how could they pay financial institutions for the cost of those items? Did they pay cash for them or not?
    The first thing anyone will ask about others in their case, where did they get the money from? What did they do to get the money? How could they have obtained it? They are within their rights to ask those questions.
    I could not see the Court dismissing such a case. It must get down to the bottom of this. Rightfully, the Court seized their assets until it can be proven how they obtained the money to purchase said properties.

  8. bias
    January 15, 2015

    Mr Skerrit introduce the tax invasion laws like the US…if y can get them doing the illegal trade, get them by tax invasion. ….lock them up 10-20 years

    • Titiwi
      January 16, 2015

      Boy, please don’t embarrass yourselves and our education system. It is tax evasion and not tax invasion.

    • Positive vibes
      January 16, 2015

      You mean tax Evasion

      • Duncekyat
        January 17, 2015

        @Positive vibes @Titiwi

        Well, I don’t know about you, but taxes invade my income…so maybe “bias” is on to something.

  9. anonymous
    January 15, 2015

    where is the evidence? sue the state…

  10. BEB
    January 15, 2015

    This is just a joke, some other judge is going to turn over that decision . I’m just listening

  11. kay
    January 15, 2015

    No work. U have to help yourself. Dont go into People house. Some of the would be happy to get some of the drugs money

  12. Just Blaze
    January 15, 2015

    I hope the perpetrators can be brought to justice. It sends a wrong message to our young people when they see people living large with income derived from criminal activity. I hope all the high level businessmen and politicians that involved go down with them as well.

  13. Chakademus
    January 15, 2015

    So what happened to due process? If the state is not able to prosecute them it should not be able to just steal, I mean seize their assets. Every Tom Dick and Harry thinking they guilty but if the state cannot prove them guilty it should leave them alone! If this is possible what’s to prevent the state from taking your own hard earned assets?

    • Just Observing
      January 15, 2015

      Your honesty and truth. You working in a legal job -employed or self-employed. Have a salary – weekly, monthly or forth nightly. Have taken out loans at various financial institutions and invested the same. Or you might have be the beneficiary of a benevolent gift from a rich, deceased family OR you might have won the MIAMI or NEW York lottery. Once these are established the state has no right to cease or cannot cease your assets. However, if you are a very young person with no known form of gainful employment, have not benefitted from a gift from a very rich friend/family member, have not won the Dominica Lottery much more the Miami lottery, but your life style befits someone who has all of the above (free living, free spending of money – sponsoring community organizations, expensive, mostly pleasure or social assets, then you must be prepared to declare to the civilized world where and how you came to been enjoying all that “good time. If it is legal, it should not be hard to…

  14. Abitrator
    January 15, 2015

    They need to do the same to our politicians. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander

  15. DA Girly
    January 15, 2015

    This is so crazy. The State dropped charges but keeps their assets. That is theft.

    • Not a herd follower
      January 15, 2015

      The State did not drop the charges.

    • The Facts
      January 15, 2015

      Consider, a faux pas was made to discontinue the case. Something is wrong somewhere. Any sensible person would conclude this.

  16. Shaka zulu
    January 15, 2015

    Ok. I am very Happy to see the court has finally awoke and have such power. The amount of other folks that have lived a life of luxury selling drugs, why is it only now the court is using this power. Is it to save the embarrassment from the inabilities of the FIU to conduct investigations? Where was the court when a certain individual from newtown was arrested for murder set free only to be later arrested in Europe for running the biggest drug network in Guadeloupe. I do not have a problem with the courts decision but this cannot be partial and no one should be shielded neither should court be influenced in carrying out justice.
    I hope this will set precedence and other known offenders will suffer the same fate.

    • Shaka zulu
      January 15, 2015

      In the case of skeritt citizenship the court insisted that it cannot compel PM to present his passports. If in this case it can put and order to have the individual show proof of earnings why couldn’t it have done the same in the case of the PM. If there is a distinction in the process when breaking the law then that should be made clear or we have real problems. Money laundering and drug dealing are not the only crimes on the books and if the FIU and prosecution cannot prove such a blatant case then we have more problem s than is apparent.

    • The Facts
      January 15, 2015

      It may be due to the comments of others in the Media. Do you not think they read the comments and hear of them? The Court is correct to seize their assets.

  17. ?????????
    January 15, 2015

    Just when they thought they got away…..lmfao

  18. Last laugh
    January 15, 2015

    Who laughing now. They must freeze a lot more. Too many people have things they cannot account for in Dominica.

  19. TRUTH
    January 15, 2015

    Very good!! Deal with them. I just hope in the end those assets don’t go back to them

  20. Bomboclat
    January 15, 2015

    HahahhahahahaAhhahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahhaahah. Now we talking business.

  21. BLUFF
    January 15, 2015

    bravo, bravo , bravo, bravo

  22. rogerthat
    January 15, 2015

    Unfortunately, Dominica is becoming known around the world as a place where money laundering takes place. This actually makes it very difficult for business’s who are legitimate! I would absolutely hate to be a lawyer here especially one who always seems to be defending people who are being accused of murder, money laundering etc. This actually muddies the water of the defending lawyers who seem to always be dealing in murky business. By the way, what is happening to the five policemen involved in the beating of a prisoner in Portsmouth????????????????????????????? The public of Dominica need to know they are safe especially if they are taken into police custody! Please people of Dominica stand up for justice, law and order! What a legacy if we do not do this to pass on to our children!

    • The Facts
      January 15, 2015

      I would not make this derogatory comment about Dominica. Based on the evidence, the Court must try and process those cases appropriately. Keep in mind those people have attorneys who represent them and who do their utmost to have them acquitted them.

  23. Yes Fada!
    January 15, 2015

    Oh my…what a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive….

  24. grell
    January 15, 2015

    Big joke in this country,they want the material items for there own use.

    • Just Observing
      January 15, 2015

      Even if you wait, it will still be a while longer before you enjoy it. Mad Grell.

    • The Facts
      January 15, 2015

      You are not patriotic and on the side of justice as in this case.

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