Political analyst Derek Ramsamooj is currently in police custody in Suriname lending assistance to a fraud and corruption matter involving Suriname's State bank.
A report in a Surinamese media publication headlined "consultant held on SPSB fraud" dated October 8 stated Ramsamooj was "arrested and detained by the Public Prosecution Service" in the police investigation that is being conducted into the fraud affair at the Surinamese Post Savings Bank (SPSB).
"He is suspected of participating in a criminal organization, forgery, fraud and has acted in violation of the Anti-Corruption Act," stated the report.
It added that Ramsamooj, a Trinidadian, is the second person arrested as part of this investigation.
The first is the bank's director Ginmardo Kromosoeto.
"The Fraud Department of the police is responsible for this criminal investigation. An investigation was already underway into the malpractice at the SPSB. It has also been reported that Ramsamooj was a consultant to the NDP (The National Democratic Party) and was the mastermind behind those polls for the past decade.” stated the report.
Ramsamooj's companion Camille Pagee told the Express that Ramsamooj is not a suspect in the case.
He has been assisting the police for the past three days.
"Derek is not a suspect; he has inquired if there are charges proposed and was told by the Police that he is not being charged but asked to help with an investigation," she disclosed in a statement.
She stated that police in Suriname are investigating transactions which passed through the State bank.
Pagee stated that the targets of the investigation appear to be the former Minister of Finance Gilmore Hoefdraad and the Director of the bank.
She noted that the ex-Minister fled the country and the Director was taken into custody some months ago.
"Now they are contacting every person or company who had invoices paid by that bank," she stated.
Pagee added that Ramsamooj has in the past invoiced for his usual services (polling and analysis, reports on strategy, etc) which were paid there.
He was contacted and asked to make a statement. He agreed to cooperate fully. He was not 'arrested'--he drove to the police station to meet by appointment with an officer," she stated.
Pagee noted that the method of the Surinamese police is to question people in isolation- without allowing contact to family etc.
"Apparently they can keep a person at the station for 8 days and there is nothing he or anyone can do to intervene in this time. Their process is slow partly because his records are all in Trinidad, and a translator is needed before any statements can be recorded. Everything requested is being sent by email as quickly as asked," she stated.
Pagee stated that the media publication about Ramsamooj is in the Dutch language and "appeared to be embellishing liberally on a recent Jamaica Observer piece in which pundits were musing whether the JLP had "the Trini master pollster" working for them as he was when they won in 2016".
She stated that Ramsamooj was not working in Jamaica, and a retraction of the JLP's claims to the contrary was duly published.