(Seychelles News Agency) – The illegal possession of firearms case involving prominent Seychellois businessman Mukesh Valabhji and his wife Laura, a lawyer, and three others, will start in April or May, said the presiding judge on Friday.
Chief Justice Rony Govinden said that he will set the date on February 24 when all the accused will appear before him.
The case relates to more than 100 firearms and over 35,000 rounds of ammunition recovered from the Valabhji home at Morne Blanc during a search on November 18. This came after the couple was arrested in relation to a case of money laundering of a missing $50 million of funds granted to the government of Seychelles by the United Arab Emirates in 2002.
Meanwhile, Govinden has asked the prison authorities to provide a report into what he said is a serious allegation made by Laura Valabhji.
Valabhji stated in court that her prison cell was broken into and certain documents in relation to the cases were vandalised and some documents were taken. She said that the police still have not addressed this issue and have not responded to her report.
In relation to the issue of payment of legal fees, Goviden delivered his ruling on the validity of the resolution of directors allowing the Valabhji couple to get the funds from their companies.
He said that the company is not authorised to make any payments to directors and shareholders that are not in accordance with the law, that the company is restricted in providing loans to a director and that any payment to a shareholder will be limited to dividend amount.
Aside from the Valabjhi couple, three other persons have been charged in the ongoing case by the Supreme Court — Leslie Benoiton – a senior officer in the Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF), Leopold Payet – a former chief of the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces [the former name of the SDF]- and Frank Marie – retired lieutenant colonel and presidential chief security officer.