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By Zaya Williams
Suspended senior police officer Ray John and his co-accused, Shakema Charles will be defending themselves against serious criminal charges on January 17 for the passport scam they are believed to have committed years ago.
John, an assistant superintendent of police, and Charles, his then partner, — who was an employee of the Antigua and Barbuda Passport Office — allegedly conspired to forge passports through the unauthorised use of Multi Layered Infilling Sheets (MLIS) belonging to the local passport office.
The offence allegedly occurred sometime between October 28 2014 and April 6 2018.
The Vincentian-born policeman, who was 45 years old at the time of his arrest, is also charged with two counts of larceny. He is accused of stealing 16 of the sheets valued at $1,600 and also receiving them knowing them to be stolen.
John and Charles were initially charged alongside John’s mother, Yvonne Nickie, however the prosecution dropped the charges against her just last week.
The alleged passport scam was uncovered early in April 2018 when police in St Vincent and the Grenadines intercepted a man at the airport with five bio pages of Antigua and Barbuda passports, among other items, to include a large quantity of cash.
The collaborative work between the police in St Vincent and Antigua and Barbuda led to ASP John’s arrest.