Timelines set for PPP challenge to DPP withdrawing misconduct allegations

first_imgThe High Court has started to hear two separate writs that are seeking to overturn the Director of Public Prosecution’s decision to discontinue private criminal charges of Misconduct in Public Office against several ministers in the Coalition Government.Justice Fidella Corbin-Lincoln earlier this week ordered Attorney Anil Nandall to put in his submissions by July 25, and gave the Attorney General’s Chambers until August 9 to issue submissions. Both parties are slated to return on September 6, 2018 to present oral arguments.The People’s Progressive Party (PPP), through members Vickram Bharrat and Bishop Juan Edghill, have filed private charges against present and former Ministers of Public Health, Volda Lawrence and Dr George Norton, for charges relating to sole-sourcing of drugs and Government renting a Sussex Street Albouystown drugs bond.Meanwhile, Finance Minister Winston Jordan, Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson, and then Education Minister Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine were all charged for their reported handling of $906 million of public funds under the Durban ParkAnil NandlallProject.The DPP, back in April, 2018, had for the second time in one-week discontinued charges of “Misconduct in Public Office, contrary to the Common Law” initiated by Opposition Members of Parliament (MPs) against Ministers Patterson and Jordan, and now Public Service Minister Dr Roopnaraine. In the first charge, the court heard that Jordan and Patterson were being accused of “paying to private limited liability company Homestretch Development Inc (HDI) the sum of $906 million, being public funds, without any resort to the procurement process as is required by law.”The additional charge against Roopnaraine alleges that “while being a Minister, [he] acted as Director of the private limited liability company Homestretch Development Inc (HDI) and accepted $906 million of public funds without any resort to the procurement process, which is prescribed by law.”However, DPP Shalimar Ali-Hack said, “The private criminal charges for the offence of Misconduct in Public Office contrary to the Common Law, instituted against Ministers Winston Jordan and David Patterson and Rupert Roopnaraine were discontinued by the Director of Public Prosecutions under Article 187 (1) ( c) of the Constitution of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana.”She has maintained that “these charges concern a grave issue under the criminal law in relation to two serving Ministers. [As such,] in the interest of good governance in the State of Guyana, such allegations ought first to have been reported to the Guyana Police Force, for an investigation to be launched and the advice of the DPP sought.”The $1 billion D’Urban Park project has been shrouded in much secrecy, and following calls from the parliamentary Opposition, the Office of the Auditor General of Guyana launched a special audit into the project. Charges were also brought against other ministers in relation to the Sussex Street Drug Bond, which was also shrouded in secrecy. However, when a case was filed in this regard, the DPP also discontinued them on the same grounds as these recent charges.On April 19, 2018, the Opposition filed a case against Dr George Norton and Volda Lawrence. Those charges were in relation to rental of a house in Sussex Street, Albouystown, Georgetown in the sum of $12 million to store drugs, and the sole sourcing of drugs and pharmaceuticals from private company ANSA McAL Trading Limited in the sum of $605 million.These private charges followed charges filed against former PPP Government officials Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh and former NICIL Head Winston Brassington, who were both charged and released on bail in relation to several land transactions.last_img

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