LAMBIRDS President & CEO, Dr. Iftekhar Shams, has filed a claim in the local civil court against the Attorney General of Saint Lucia.
The claim (Claim No. SLUHCV 2018/0118 was filed on February 27, 2018), was filed on the grounds of Malicious Prosecution and Wrongful Imprisonment by the local investigating officers.
Shams says The claim was filed before the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court as his “last hope” after he “failed to reach the Prime Minister and the Head of Invest St. Lucia”, despite what he describes as “several efforts through physical, written and through other medias,” in a bid to re-start his businesses “and live normal life.”
Shams spent two years in custody at Bordelais Correctional facility following closure of his businesses here in the midst of the island’s biggest human trafficking scandal.
In a statement to The VOICE, Shams says he arrived in Saint Lucia on 1st May 2014 to attend investment forum at Sandal Resort between 4th and 6th May 2014.
By his account, Invest St. Lucia invited him and arranged his visa “and facilitated all permits and licenses to run Lambirds Academy in Saint Lucia.”
As a result, he further explains, “Lambirds Academy became a 100%-legitimate academy that is duly approved by Ministry of Commerce, Health, Education and the British Awarding body, OTHM.”
Lambirds Academy had two campuses here — one at 139 Dauphin Street, Gros Islet with 6 rooms and another at 2 Alfiona Plaza, Rodney Heights, with 14 rooms.
Following the closure of the two entities, Shams spent 24 months in custody with continuous rejection of bail requests, which he claims “has destroyed me, my reputation, my livelihood, my investment of my lifelong savings, my businesses worldwide, my social status — and the academy.”
Shams was arrested by the Major Crime Unit of the Police Force on February 27, 2015 and got bail on February 10, 2017.
According to him, “The Lambirds Affairs is a huge shame to Saint Lucia” and “the unfounded allegations against me have cost me and my whole family, including my children and my brothers, our livelihoods and unnecessary harassments by authorities all over the world.”
He says he is “totally broken both mentally and financially and I have decided to leave this country, in no time…” — although he also claims he has “no place to go”.
“I am frustrated and l have lost every hope in this country, says Shams.
“I am exhausted and tired of knocking the doors of the courts to get back my properties, documents and visas from the Police and my money in various world banks, my reputation and businesses, from the Attorney General Office — even after I have been completely exonerated by the court system of St. Lucia, on all cases.”
As a result of his experiences here, Shams claims all his bank accounts locally and overseas (in St. Lucia, USA, UK, Singapore and Bangladesh) were frozen by the US Government and all his businesses have been shut down in seven countries.
He adds that the personal and business bank accounts of his brother, Sayeed Ahmed Shams, in Bangladesh, have also been frozen.
According to Shams “The Major Crimes Unit of RSLPF brought in Criminal Reports three times from Interpol, Bangladesh Police, Singapore Police, British Police, Thai and Indian Police, and from every place I ever set his feet on, and all the reports came back spotless clean.”
The broken Bangladeshi national says he “arrived in saint Lucia as a millionaire and an international businessman with big dreams and by the grace of the police force, the DPP’s Office and the broken Justice system, and the nasty politics of ST. Lucia, I am now a unique story of riches to rags. I have lost everything I looked forward to in my life.”
Shams, who has not yet been found guilty of the main charges laid against him by local police, says his reputation as an international businessman has been destroyed by un-favourable coverage given to his Saint Lucia saga in international media such as “the BBC, Channel 4, Daily Mail, Yahoo USA, Yahoo UK, Yahoo Singapore, Yahoo Sports and major newspapers of Middle East, Caribbean, Asia and all over the Internet.”
In addition, he says, “A Film called ‘The Lambirds’ has already been produced and released by its American producer, which has also helped ruin my life forever.”
According to the beleaguered ex-investor, “I am on red flags everywhere. I have no place to go now.”
According to Shams, “Invest Trinidad and Invest Dominica have already rejected my applications as foreign investor because of this ‘human trafficker sticker’ pasted on my face in Saint Lucia.”
Shams, who was arrested with other alleged co-conspirators, was originally slapped with 8 counts of Human Trafficking, 49 counts of Obtaining Property by Deception and 1 count of Money Laundering.
The Money Laundering case was dismissed by Magistrate Ermin Moise on October 27, 2015; the one on Obtaining Property by Deception charges was withdrawn by DPP on January 1, 2017; and the Human Trafficking one was dismissed by Senior Magistrate Phulchere on July 7, 2017.
The DPP appealed the Money laundering case at the Appeals Court and the appeal against the Money Laundering ruling was struck out on December 14, 2017 by Chief Justice Dame Janice M. Pereira.
The self-described millionaire-turned-pauper says he is appealing to the OECS Appeals Court “as a last resort” because he has so far “failed to get the attention of the Prime Minister or Invest Saint Lucia” to assist him in re-establishing his business after all the court cases against him here have fallen through.
Dr Shams; attorney in the claim against the Attorney General of Saint Lucia is Dexter Theodore, Q.C.