DR. Iftekhar Shams, President and CEO of Lambirds Academy, is now a free man but he is not a happy man. Now he is asking Prime Minister Allen Chastanet to help him in his sorrows by helping him start his business and get his regular life in order.
He has written to the Prime Minister seeking an audience so as to explain his sorrows and need for assistance.
“I am urging the Honourable Prime Minister for an appointment. I desperately need his prompt appointment and kind support,” Shams said.
“I am struggling and facing problems in every sector of the government to restart my life, even though the courts have proven me innocent,” Shams added.
According to Shams he must see the Prime Minister because the Prime Minister is the only one who could help him in the predicament that he is in. He said he submitted an official request to meet with the Prime Minister on 19 December of last year and did so again, via email on 8 January of this year but has yet to receive a response.
Shams problems stemmed from 60 or so students of Asian national claiming he defrauded them of thousands of American dollars they paid to study at his Lambirds Academy located in Gros Islet but never took a day of classes.
He spent two years in jail – 10 February 2015 – 27 February 2017. Shams and three others were charged with human trafficking, obtaining property by deception and money laundering. The human trafficking charge had eight other charges affixed to it, while the one dealing with obtaining property by deception had 49.
At the end of numerous court appearances Shams was released. He says he is innocent of the charges against him. Presently there are no police charges hanging over his head. However, getting his life back on track has not been easy.
“I came here as an innocent foreign investor through Invest St. Lucia. Invest St. Lucia facilitated all the licenses and permits to run Lambirds Academy in Saint Lucia. But now they acting as strangers and not extending any cooperation nor giving any appointment for further discussions,” Shams said.
He added that his properties, original documents and exhibits, which were seized by the Major Crimes Unit have not been returned to him, despite making several requests.
He said he applied to immigration department for a business visa in December of last year and for an extension on his residence permit.
“They issued my extension of residence permit up to 8/4/18. But they did not issue my 12 months business multiple visa saying that they are doing security check on me again,” Shams said.
He said that his bank accounts are still frozen and that the local authorities responsible for writing the Attorney General in the United States of America to unfreeze his bank accounts have yet to do so.
“This is really frustrating. It leaves me in doubt. All the signs indicate that they are desperate to get rid of me, whereas I am totally innocent. If my matter took place in the first world Country, the Head of the Country would have come out in public by now, apologize on behalf of police and support me.
“This is seriously damaging the reputation of this country and the Honourable Prime Minister and boldly proving that the Foreign Investors are not safe here anymore,” Shams said.