Prosecutors in the money laundering case of a pastor from south Trinidad, who allegedly attempted to change almost $30 million in old cotton $100 notes into new polymer replacements on the deadline for doing so, almost two years ago, have filed most of their witness statements.

During a brief virtual hearing before Chief Magistrate Maria Busby-Earle-Caddle, yesterday morning, prosecutor Nigel Pilgrim noted that his office had already filed and served 18 witness statements with six remaining statements expected to be filed and served by next week.

Pilgrim said that the parties are expected to file evidential objections in the case in January. The case was adjourned to March.

Vinworth Dayal, of Gulf View, La Romaine, who is the head of the Third Exodus Assembly Church in Longdenville, is accused of being in possession of a total of $30,719,938 in cash knowing that part or all was the proceedings of criminal activity contrary to the Income Tax Act.

He is facing two money laundering charges under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

When Dayal first appeared in court in July, he was released on $10 million in bail.

Dayal came under the police’s radar after he allegedly attempted to change $28,028,600 in old $100 notes at the Central Bank in Port-of-Spain on December 31, 2019.

Officers of the Financial Investigation Unit (FIU) then executed a search warrant at the church and allegedly found $2,691,338 in smaller denominations.

The money was detained under the legislation with the latest renewal of the detention order being granted in July. Under the legislation, the cash can be detained for up to two years.

In the event that Dayal is eventually exonerated, he can apply for the money, which has been deposited in an interest bearing account, to be returned with interest. Forfeiture proceedings can also be initiated if he is convicted.

Dayal is being represented by Pamela Elder, SC, Richard Mason and Ann Marie Phillip.