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I risked my life to drop off ransom—witness
A long-standing employee of the Xtra Foods supermarket chain admitted that he was asked to go beyond the call of duty and risk his own life to deliver a ransom payment to the abductors of the company’s chief executive Vindra Naipaul-Coolman. Abid Nabbie, the supermarket chain’s current chief operating officer, made the admission yesterday during the trial of a dozen men charged with murdering Naipaul-Coolman.
While under cross-examination by defence attorney Mario Merritt, Nabbie said although he knew the dangers of the task he was assigned he still completed it. He said he was acting on instructions from Naipaul-Coolman’s brother and the company’s managing director Anand Naipaul.
Merritt: That delivery of money was not part of your job description?
Nabbie: No, sir. But there is a level of respect when your employer asks you to do something.
Merritt: But it was dangerous, wasn't it?
Merritt: You abandoned your own safety to do something asked by your employer?
Nabbie: Yes, sir.
During Monday’s hearing, Nabbie, the State’s tenth witness since the trial began in late March, told the court how, hours after Naipaul-Coolman was kidnapped outside her Lange Park, Chaguanas, home on December 19, 2006, he was instructed to go to the company’s safe at the Grand Bazaar branch to collect the cash to pay the ransom.
He and two other employees counted the $122,000 and photocopied some of the bills to record the serial numbers, before he and his brother Farouk went to D’Abadie to drop off the money. Asked if he was aware of the store’s daily sales during the Christmas season, Nabbie said the company’s accountants were the only employees with that information. Nabbie was also asked if he could confirm whether Naipaul-Coolman and her two brothers Anand and Ryan were licensed firearm holders.
Nabbie said he was aware that both brothers had licences, although he could not say if Ryan carried a firearm. He also revealed that Naipaul-Coolman had been issued a firearm user’s employee certificate. Nabbie’s testimony was cut short yesterday after one of the 12-member jury before Justice Malcolm Holdip said he was feeling unwell. Nabbie’s cross-examination will resume this morning.
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