The Seychelles Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned the illegal firearms and terrorism case, which started on July 3rd, to October 3rd.
The persons charged in the case are prominent businessman Mukesh Valabjhi and his wife Laura, a lawyer. Also charged are Leslie Benoiton – a senior officer in the Seychelles Defence Forces (SDF), Leopold Payet – a former chief of the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces [the former name of the Seychelles Defence Forces]- and Frank Marie – a retired lieutenant colonel and presidential chief security officer.
The court has set the new dates for the trial in four slots – October 3 to 20, October 21 to November 17, December 4 to 18 December and the final slot January 15 to March 24.
According to the court “the Chief Justice ruled in favour of the Valabhji’s defence team that the trial for illegal possession of firearms and grenades, as well as terrorism, be adjourned.”
The court added that “the Chief Justice agreed to new dates for the trial to continue because James Lewis, the lead attorney for the Valabhjis, said in court on Monday 21 August that his team requires more time to study additional materials provided by the Prosecution.”
The trial was also postponed due to the inability of Frank Marie to attend court. Marie has been admitted to the hospital due to health issues.
The case relates to more than 100 firearms and over 35,000 rounds of ammunition recovered from the Valabjhi’s home at Morne Blanc during a search on November 18.
This came after the couple was arrested in relation to a case of money laundering of a missing $50 million of funds granted to the government of Seychelles by the United Arab Emirates in 2002.