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Stabroek News

Stuck behind bars - Kern fails to post bail
published: Friday | February 29, 2008

Rodney Chin (face covered) sprints to a waiting vehicle in the company of his associates after he posted bail yesterday at the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court. Chin is one of three persons facing multiple charges in the Cuban light-bulb scandal which has rocked the People's National Party (PNP). The others are Kern Spencer, the former state minister in the previous PNP government, and Coleen Wright, a former personal assistant to Spencer. - Rudolph Brown/Chief Photographer

Former People's National Party (PNP) state minister Kern Spencer, who was offered bail in the sum of $10 million on Wednesday, had to spend another night behind bars yesterday. He was arrested on Tuesday evening by detectives from the Organised Crime Investigation Division for his role in the Cuban light-bulb scandal.

Spencer is facing nine charges while his co-accused, Rodney Chin has been slapped with five charges and Coleen Wright is to answer to six charges. The charges include conspiracy to defraud, breaches of the Corruption Prevention Act and money laundering.

Sign bail bond

Apart from Patrick Roberts, who is a member of the People's National Party's National Executive Council, no other standard bearer of the party turned up at either the Central police lock-up, where Spencer is being held, or the Half-Way Tree Court, where he is to sign his bail bond.

Last night, attempts to reach party Chairman Robert Pickersgill for a comment proved futile.

Roberts, the party's caretaker for North Central St Andrew, had committed to bailing Spencer, but the process was not completed yesterday due the the absence of a recent evaluation report on Roberts' property.

The bail application for Spencer, which was made by defence counsel Patrick Atkinson late Wednesday evening, lasted only four minutes.

However, bail documents could not be processed as the court office was closed on Wednesday. Again, yesterday, the office closed before the documents could be processed. Roberts told The Gleaner that he was unaware that he needed a valuation report.

He said that he had to get a reputable valuator to "measure every inch of the property". By the time they were finished, it was late.

"I have been there before. I know what it is like to be behind bars wanting to be free," Roberts told The Gleaner.

Roberts was arrested on Christmas Eve, 2006 in connection with a flare-up of violence in Arnett Gardens, St Andrew. He was never charged. Roberts is putting up one of his properties for Spencer's release.

Still in custody

Meanwhile, Chin was released at 4:05 p.m. yesterday after signing his bond. This was to the delight of PNP supporters who rushed to greet him just before he was whisked away in a darkly tinted Pajero.

Wright, the third accused, remained in custody last night as attempts to bail her were unsuccessful. A recent valuation report on the property that is being used for her surety was not completed until late yesterday.

Wright has been offered bail in the sum of $5 million.

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