Businessman reports handing over accident victims jewels to cop
--probe underway

Stabroek News
March 14, 2000

The police are investigating a report that the missing jewels of the victims in last week's Mon Repos mini-bus/truck smash-up were handed over to the police shortly after the accident occurred.

Relatives have claimed that they have not received the jewels which the dead victims had been wearing. The accident which occurred last Monday claimed the lives of 12 persons.

Mon Repos businessman Motiram Ram popularly known as 'Sham' told Stabroek News on Saturday that he was personally responsible for handing over a number of jewels and other items to the police after the victims had been removed from the scene.

The jewellery included two pairs of gold bands, eight finger rings--one with a red stone which is believed to be a birth stone, two unmatched gold earrings, two silver chains, a pair of silver earrings and a silver band. When contacted for a comment Police Public Relations Officer, Senior Superintendent, Ivelaw Whittaker, told Stabroek News that the police were aware of the allegations and were investigating. He promised an update on the investigations.

Ram, who is joint owner of Bibi and Sham's Butchery, told this newspaper that he was surprised when he learnt through the media that the relatives of the accident victims had not received the jewels.

He said that he was one of the persons who arrived at the scene soon after the accident occurred. He claimed that he saw a young man stripping the motionless victims of their jewels and he asked him if he knew the persons. The young man, he said, replied that they were his family. However, when asked to name the victims the young man could not and as such Ram asked him to hand over the jewels to him and the young man complied.

The businessman, who itemised the jewels, said that they were handed over to a female constable (name provided) along with a national identification card, two National Insurance Scheme (NIS) cards, a New Testament and a wallet. The items, he said, were placed in "an orange and white baby lunch bag which also contained two [boys] underwear and a piece of left-over sandwich." Other items handed over were some bags and other documents.

A source at the Beterverwagting Police Station told this newspaper that the personal documents and "some bags" were lodged at the police station but not the jewels.

Relatives told Stabroek News yesterday afternoon that they had received a number of bags containing clothing and footwear, the ID and NIS cards, a watch with a broken hand, a $20 bill and some coins but no item of jewellery. (Miranda La Rose)