Lotto Fund case dismissed on procedural point – AFC Executive
…Attorney General’s claims inaccurate
The Lotto Fund case which was filed in the High Court by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU’)s Desmond Trotman, was dismissed on a procedural point. At least this is according to Alliance for Change Chairman, Attorney-at-law Nigel Hughes.
Hughes said, yesterday, that “the principal issue of whether or not the Lotto Fund should go into the Consolidated Fund was never determined; it was never heard…arguments on that matter were never heard in the court.”
Hughes was at the time sharing the spotlight with other AFC Executive Members at the party’s weekly press conference which was hosted at the Middle Street, Georgetown, Side Walk Cafe.
According to the lawyer, “I’ve noticed…the media has assumed that the representations made by the Attorney General (Anil Nandlall) on the Lotto case are accurate.”
Hughes said that he had himself made contact with the presiding judge, Madame Diane Insanally, who informed him that the case was in fact dismissed on a procedural point.
“I just wish to clarify that and make it very clear… As a matter of fact the order of court has been entered…I was not in that case but I thought it would be useful.”
“The Court dismissed the case on a preliminary point…the issue on whether or not the Lotto Funds should go into the Consolidated Fund is still unanswered and undetermined.”
Reports are that following the dismissal of the case the Attorney General vocalised claims that the judge had decided the case based on its merits having discovered that “the deposit of the monies in the Development Fund of Guyana (Lotto Fund) is in accordance with Article 216 of the Constitution, the provisions of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act and the Lotteries Act, thereby vindicating the Government’s position.”
This was disputed by Hughes yesterday.
The misconceived reason for the dismissal of the case had even invoked the ire of APNU’s point man on finance, Carl Greenidge, who in a lengthy missive to the media last week said “I am little surprised by it.”
“I have no view to offer on the decision of the judge in the absence of a written explanation of the logic of the decision….”
The case was brought against the government in relation to the constitutionality of the mode of deposit and use of the Lotto Funds.
According to the former Finance Minister he has noted with sadness a press statement attributed to the Attorney General in connection with the December 28 High Court ruling. The AG, he said, “has taken the opportunity of this lacuna to relay the decision to the media using his own peculiar interpretation which is consistent with his well known penchant for spin.”
Greenidge said, too, that the main legal counsel to the Cabinet has implied that the Court has, in effect, ruled that the PPP regime enjoys a carte blanche under Article 216 of the Constitution to deposit in and spend from the Lotto funds as it wishes.
He also noted that after outlining his version of the decision, the AG went on to urge that “in the light of this decision by the Courts, the Opposition should bring to the Courts those other concerns it has about the constitutionality or legality of the numerous controversial Government actions. “He would say that, wouldn’t he?”
However, Greenidge noted that APNU will decline this invitation from the AG, particularly in light of the unrelenting effort of the Government to suborn the Judiciary and the illegal legislative measures to curtail its independence.