Jul 04, 2016 News
“We have received advice from practiced, local and international legal agents… on the view that the advice is flawed. As far as we are concerned, there is no impediment to criminal charges being laid.” – Dr Thomas
By: Kiana Wilburg
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) believes that there is no solid ground for the pursuit of criminal charges against former President Bharrat Jagdeo and others in the infamous Pradoville 2 fiasco.
Instead, it has informed the Head of the State Asset Recovery Unit (SARU), Dr. Clive Thomas, that there seems to be only scope for civil proceedings to be had.
That’s not going down well with the SARU boss. Dr. Thomas insists that while SARU will follow the DPP’s advice, it will continue to push for criminal charges to be brought against those implicated in the scheme.
The SARU Head believes that there is a strong case where the Pradoville 2 matter is concerned and insists that the advice on civil charges is flawed.
“With regard to the Pradoville case, we wrote the DPP, Miss Shalimar Ali-Hack since last year November and we only got a reply about a week ago. We noted that the DPP did not make detailed comments on the issue, but rather informed us on the advice she received from their legal advisor. The advice is that there are no grounds for criminal charges, but we can pursue civil proceedings.”
“We noted in our reply to the DPP that we have received advice from practiced, local and international legal agents, all of whom agree that there are grounds for criminal proceedings…We therefore believe that the advice she received is flawed. We reject entirely the advice both in letter and spirit. We also received local and international support on the view that the advice is flawed. As far as we are concerned, there is no impediment to criminal charges being laid.”
The SARU Head said that he also noted in his reply to the DPP that while it will pursue the civil grounds, the Unit strongly believes that this is not enough.
“Even members of the international community, which we received advice from, do not agree with this and we reminded her of our arguments and advice on the matter. We will now wait to see what is going to be her reply in this regard,” Dr. Thomas said.
In early October, 2015 SARU completed a report which stated that in 2010, the Bharrat Jagdeo Cabinet made a decision authorizing the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) to privatize State lands. NICIL is the body tasked with overseeing the privatization of State assets.
It reportedly spent more than $200M to develop the sea front community without the knowledge and blessings of the National Assembly and other relevant bodies.
The said lands were then secretly sold to the former Ministers and known friends and associates of the previous regime. At the time of the sale, the report said, the lands were grossly undervalued and sold at a price substantially below the market value, thereby depriving the state of its full benefits.
SARU said, “There is a direct link between the misconduct and the abuse of powers and duties of their position. The former Cabinet members knew they were doing a wrong in transferring State lands to their names and that of their acquaintances for undervalued market prices for the land. The lands were sold for $114 per square foot at the time.”
“Public officers ought to carry out their duties, not for the benefit of themselves, but for the benefit of the public as a whole. If they neglect or misconduct themselves by their actions in the course of their duties, this may lead to a breach or abuse of the public’s trust. The act of the Cabinet members for their benefit is serious enough to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust.”
In a letter addressed to Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan, SARU had said that based on its findings, it is requesting that Ramjattan’s Office proceed to further investigate unlawful aspects of this matter, with the aim of establishing whether criminal action should be instituted.
“It is the duty of this Unit in the Ministry of the Presidency to ensure that no Minister of Government in Guyana would be the beneficiary from any acts of misconduct or unlawful conduct while being holders of Public Office.”
SARU had also informed the Public Security Minister that it has also forwarded its report to the Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Basil Williams, along with a copy of a Legal Opinion on the potential misconduct in Public Office by the former Ministers.
The document on the Legal Opinion says that there is legal scope for the argument of willful neglect by the former ministers in performing their duties without reasonable excuse or facilitation to an extent amounting to an abuse of the public trust.
Further, based on the cases cited, the document outlines that the Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, has Legal Standing on this matter.
Once sufficient evidence is gathered by his Chambers, Williams had said that a civil action against the former Cabinet Ministers will be instituted. He had explained to the media that former President Bharrat Jagdeo could face prosecution.
The SARU report however lists the DPP, Miss Shalimar Ali-Hack as a beneficiary of the controversial Pradoville Two deal. The report said that on September 7, 2011, the DPP bought Lot 184 Sparendaam, ECD, Block IV, which is 0.2767 acres of land.
Asked how this looming situation of conflict of interest would be dealt with, Williams had said, “She would have to recuse herself in the determination of the matter.”
Mar 04, 2021Kaieteur News – COOLIDGE, Antigua (AP) — Sri Lanka leg-spinner Akila Dananjaya experienced the precipitous highs and lows of Twenty20 cricket when he claimed a hat-trick which included the...
Mar 04, 2021
Mar 04, 2021
Mar 04, 2021
Mar 04, 2021
Mar 04, 2021
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – If U.S. President, Joe Biden, eases the trade embargo against Cuba, one benefit... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]