Jul 12, 2016 News
A Constitutional Motion filed in the High Court by lawyers for Dr. Jennifer Westford and Margaret Cummings prevented a City Magistrate from commencing a trial in relation to the eight state vehicles for which they forged documents and attempted to transfer to persons.
When the matter was called yesterday, Attorney Dexter Todd informed the court that he had filed a Constitutional Motion in the High Court before Chief Justice (AG) Yonette Cummings-Edwards. In light of this, the Attorney requested that the matter be adjourned for him to report on the High Court proceedings.
Todd also presented a copy of the Constitutional Motion to Magistrate Fabayo Azore.
When questioned about the details of the motion, Todd declined to disclose and explained that the Constitutional Motion prevents the Magistrate from starting the trial until a decision is made on the Motion by the Chief Justice.
He said that he is waiting on the CJ to set a fixture date.
Police Prosecutor, Corporal Bharat Mangru was however ready to proceed with trial and had three witnesses present.
These were former Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Service Hydar Ally, Police Sergeant Frank and Assistant Superintendent of Police Simeon Reid.
Magistrate Azore adjourned the matter until August 8, for reports.
Last August, the former Minister was placed on a total of $800,000 bail after she pleaded not guilty to the charges which alleged that between July 17, 2014 and June 23, 2015, she attempted to transfer eight state vehicles to four persons. Westford’s former Chief Personnel Officer, Margaret Cummings, was also slapped with four counts of forgery. Cummings also pleaded not guilty to four charges which alleged that she forged documents for the purchase of the eight motor vehicles. She has been released on a total of $1.2M bail.
In June, 2015 Minister of State Joseph Harmon, had told the media that it was brought to his attention that some documents were sent to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), purportedly signed by Permanent Secretary of the Public Service Ministry, Hydar Ally.
This was done under Ally’s letterhead, but signed by someone else. “He had no knowledge of this transaction,” Minister Harmon had stressed.
It was Ally who directed Harmon to the discrepancy in the paperwork forwarded to GRA for the transfer of eight vehicles.
In light of the overwhelming evidence, the vehicles were returned to the government.
Earlier this year the Magistrate had overruled a submission citing “executive abuse” made by Senior Counsel Neil Boston and signaled her readiness to proceed with a trial.
This was after Boston had contended that the institution of criminal charges against the former Minister and Cummings breaches an amnesty promise made by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon.
Boston had stated that Harmon had promised that once the vehicles were returned no prosecution will take place. Boston had said that all the vehicles were returned to Office of the President and in spite of the amnesty, his clients were still charged.
The lawyer had made this claim while addressing the court on why court proceedings against his clients should not go forward. However, the Magistrate ruled that the statement made by Harmon was ambiguous. She stated that the court is not sure if what the Minister said amounts to an amnesty or pardon.
Magistrate Azore had told the court that she is not sure why the defence is stating that an amnesty was granted.
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