Suspended Technical Director of the Grenada Football Association (GFA), Lester Smith of Tempe, St. George’s, and Basketball Coach, Nigel “German” McKie of The Carenage, were last week Friday committed to stand high court trial on multiple fraud and forgery charges.
The two sport administrations were nabbed by police in connection to a US Visa Scam, which facilitated persons to gain entry into the United States.
Both Smith and McKie are jointly facing five indictable counts of conspiracy to utter a forged document.
Smith had ten additional counts of forgery laid on him and is being represented by Attorney-at-Law Arley Gill, who took over from Attorney Peter David following his appointment as a government minister following the March 2018 General Election.
Mc Kie, who has retained Attorney-at-Law Francis Paul, has another two counts of conspiracy hanging over his head.
THE NEW TODAY understands that the PI, which commenced before Chief Magistrate Tamara Gill in early 2016, concluded sometime last month, with an adjournment date set for last week Friday.
Both Smith and McKie were each initially granted bail in the sum of $50, 000 with 2 sureties.
However, the sum was significantly reduced to $25, 000, when they appeared before Magistrate Gill, who committed them to stand trial at the High Court.
During the early stages of the case, Senior Crown Counsel in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Howard Pinnock, who led the police prosecution’s case due to the seriousness of the offences, sought to have a paper committal of Smith and McKie since it could have saved the court’s time.
However, the legal counsel for the two suspects strongly objected to the idea and a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) commenced with the State Prosecution team calling 6 witnesses, who were all women, including the former GFA General Secretary, Malaika Church, to give evidence against them.
The charges against Smith, who was 46 years old at the time and McKie, who was 56 years old, are in connection with a visa scam believed to have started sometime in 1991, for which a number of persons were allegedly charged a fee, which sometimes ranged from $300 to $3000, to assist them to gain entry into the United States.
Smith and Mckie were arrested and slapped with the indictable charges in October 2015, following findings of investigations by the US Embassies in St. George’s and Bridgetown, Barbados, into what was identified as false declarations in some visa applications by persons who were attempting to travel with the women football team to Puerto Rico in August that year.
It is alleged that Smith, in his capacity as Technical Director of the GFA, took advantage of his authority by using the company’s letterhead to assist persons in obtaining United States Visas.