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Civil servant on theft charges

Civil servant on theft charges

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A senior officer in the Ministry of Agriculture will return to court on September 3, to answer seven charges in relation to theft and conspiracy to steal money totalling over $200,000.{{more}}

Ruthvyn Harper, who is the agricultural officer in charge of crop research, was granted $70,000 bail when he appeared at the Serious Offences Court yesterday afternoon.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

He is charged with theft of $71,197.31 and $55,876, the property of the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Fairhall resident is also charged with conspiracy to commit the offence of theft of $71,197.31, $19,325, $3,400, $3,000, $55,876 with other persons, the property of the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The offences are alleged to have been committed between December 2006 and April 2012.

Harper was ordered to surrender his travel documents and report to the Calliaqua Police Station on Mondays between 6am and 6pm.

As Harper made his way from the courthouse, handcuffed to another prisoner, he hid his face from the media cameras.

The court ordered that disclosure of all documents to the defence be done by July 2, and any notice of alibis or any defense be given by July 16.

Chief Magistrate Sonya Young set a trial date for September 3 and 4, 2013.

Attorney Grant Conell, who appeared on Harper’s behalf, told the court that Harper’s wife wished to pay bail using land that is jointly owned.

Magistrate Young, asked, “Does it have his name on it?…I cannot touch it. I cannot touch a piece of property that is jointly owned”.

On the matter of bail, Young stated that she was being very lenient, given the fact that Harper is charged with stealing over $200,000 in government funds.

“I am taking orders from the High Court…I thought I was being very lenient,” she said.(BK/KW)

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