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Opposition to challenge DPP’s dismissal in High Court

first_imgOne day after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack, dismissed charges against Government Ministers Volda Lawrence and George Norton, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Opposition has indicated its intension to challenge the decision in the High Court.This was announced by former Attorney General and Opposition’s legal representative, Anil Nandlall.“I am now actively considering challenging the DPP’s decision in court because her decision is reviewable by the High Court… I will do it, it’s just a matter of time,” he told this media group during a telephone interview on Tuesday.“The DPP has exercised her discretion and her powers unlawfully and discriminatorily and therefore, her actions are illegal and unconstitutional,” Nandlall noted. According to the former AG, while the DPP has the power to take over and discontinue all criminal charges filed, this “power and discretion” is not absolute, and must be exercised reasonably and in accordance with established principles.To this end, he pointed out that that the reasons advanced by the DPP cannot withstand objective legal scrutiny.“The two legal reasons given in the press statement are dubious at least. One that a report was not made to the Police station, the DPP was careful not to point which law requires for such a report to be made because there is no such law… Secondly, the DPP said she’s acting in good governance; ‘good government’ is not part of the responsibility of the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions…,” he stated.The former Attorney General further outlined that there seems to be a battle between authoritarianism and the rule of law unfolding, while noting that every time an authoritarian act is not challenged, then it is allowed to prevail over the rule of law.“It is important that we do not allow unlawful decisions and abuse of power to go unaddressed… It is a pity that organisations and persons, who a few years ago were very vociferous on these very issues, have now become silent. History will judge their hypocrisy harshly,” Nandlall stated.Hours after private criminal charges were filed against three more Government Ministers by Nandlall on behalf of Opposition parliamentarian Juan Edghill, the DPP announced discontinuance of the case filed on April 19, 2018, against Public Health Minister Volda Lawrence and former Public Health Minister, Dr George Norton over the sole sourcing of over $600 million in drugs and other pharmaceuticals for the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation and the rental of a house in Sussex Street, Albouystown, Georgetown, to be utilised as a drug bond at a cost of $12 million monthly, respectively.This move by the Opposition came on the heels of former Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh and former head of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), being charged by the State on April 12, for “misconduct in public office: contrary to common law” as it pertains to the sale of three plots of State land.Nevertheless, the DPP said in a statement on Monday that, “…These charges concern a grave issue under the criminal law in relation to two serving Ministers. 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.”However, Nandlall had pointed out on Monday that, as far as he is aware, no one wrote requesting a review of the charges against Ministers Lawrence and Norton.“I am aware that at a press conference held on Saturday, the 21st day of April, 2018, Attorney General Basil Williams stated that ‘the Government expects’ the DPP to review the private criminal charges filed against the Ministers. It is now apparent that, even without a request, the Government’s expectations were met,” he observed.Moreover, he also recalled writing the DPP inviting a review of the charges filed against former Finance Minister and former head of NICIL that were brought on last week, and to date, he has not received a response.Nevertheless, the PPP Opposition moved on Monday to file criminal charges against another three Government Ministers; this time in relation to the controversial D’Urban Park Project.The private criminal charges were filed against Finance Minister Winston Jordan; Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson and Public Service Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, alleging a breach of the Procurement Act in relation to the expenditure of $906 million in public funds to a private company, Homestretch Development Inc, for the construction of the controversial D’Urban Park Project, which has been a contentious issue for some time now.Jordan and Patterson have been jointly charged with misconduct and abuse of public trust for having allegedly authorised the payment, while Dr Roopnaraine, who was a Director of the company, has been charged with alleged misconduct and the abuse of public trust for having received in his capacity as Director the $906 million in public funds while serving as Minister.last_img

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