Trinidad: Magistrate allows police to hold pastor’s $2.6m

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Trinidad: Magistrate allows police to hold pastor’s $2.6m
‘Stronger than ever’: Pastor Vinworth Dayal in a screen grab from a video of his service on Friday night at the Third Exodus Assembly in Longdenville.
‘Stronger than ever’: Pastor Vinworth Dayal in a screen grab from a video of his service on Friday night at the Third Exodus Assembly in Longdenville.

(TRINIDAD EXPRESS) – A Chaguanas magistrate yesterday granted the police detention orders to hold millions more purportedly given in tithes to Pas­tor Vinworth Day­al of the Third Ex­o­dus As­sem­bly Church in Longdenville.

The Express understands that Magistrate Rajendra Rambachan granted the application to the police to hold on to some $2.6 million found at the pastor’s church last week during a police raid.

The police had received a previous detention order to seize over $28 million from Dayal when he and his attorney attempted to exchange $28,046,500 in old $100 cotton notes for new polymer bills at the Central Bank on December 31.

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act detention orders are sought by the police which gives them authority to hold money, in this case the pastor’s millions, for a period not exceeding three months from the date of the order.

The law provides that the magistrate can authorise the further detention of the cash with the total period of detention not exceeding two years. Dayal has not been charged with any offences and the law also allows him to apply to the court for his money to be released.

The magistrate ordered that Dayal’s millions be placed in an interest-bearing account at the Central Bank. If there is no breach of the laws, the millions, including the interest, will be returned to the pastor.

Court order

On December 31, on the eve of 2020, Financial Investigation Branch (FIB) officers went before a magistrate and secured a detention court order to impound $28,046,500 from the pastor under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Dayal, described as “a minister of religion and a pastor of the Third Exodus Assembly Church of Depot Road, Longdenville”, went to the South Trunk Road, La Romaine, branch of State-run bank First Citizens on December 23 and informed officials there he intended to redeem all the old $100 notes in his possession.

Dayal’s attempt to redeem $28,046,500 triggered the seizure and detention of the money by the FIB.

In a pre-action protocol letter to the Central Bank dated December 29, 2019, Dayal’s attorney, Darrell Allahar, explained the source of funds as having been derived from churchgoers who contributed tithes.

Last Friday, during a sermon at his church, Dayal declared ‘Satan’ was trying to make him famous. However, he said out of every evil comes some good, and he praised the number of people who came out for the service, and those tuning in online through social media streams.

‘It is good to see all the troops out tonight. Satan is trying to make me famous. Amen. But there is more in Heaven, friends. More with us than with them. There is more with us than with them by the grace of almighty God,’ Dayal said to his congregation who continue to support him in their large numbers.

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