Apr 21, 2017 News
Justice Nareshwar Harnanan has handed down a ruling, making the order to appoint the Governing Board to the Deed Commercial Registry Authority, (DCRA) absolute.
The order was directed to Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General (AG), Basil Williams.
The application was filed by former Attorney General Anil Nandlall. In his application, Nandlall said that the Deeds and Commercial Registries Authority Act 2013, Act No. 4 of 2013 establishes the Deeds and Commercial Registry as a corporate body, to establish and promote the efficient and orderly operation of the Deeds Registry and the Commercial Registry, to establish the conditions governing the employment of officers and employees of the Authority.
He noted that Section 5(1) of the Act establishes a Governing Board of the said Authority, which shall have the function of ensuring the proper and efficient performance of the functions of the Authority.
The Board is supposed to consist of a Chairman, Registrar of Deeds, Registrar of the Commercial Registry, a nominee of the Ministry of Finance, a nominee of the Ministry of Housing and Water, a nominee of the Guyana Bar Association, a nominee of the Guyana Association of Legal Professionals and a nominee of the private sector. The Chairman is to be appointed by the Minister of Legal Affairs.
The matter was filed by former Attorney General Nandlall on March 6, last. The case was first heard before Justice Brassington Reynolds.
The Court initially granted an Order Rule Nisi of Mandamus on March 8, last, instructing AG Williams to show cause why the order should not be made absolute.
On April 5, last, detailed legal submissions were made by the Attorney General and Nandlall before Justice Nareshwar Harnanan.
On Wednesday, Justice Harnanan delivered an 18-page written ruling, in which he overruled all the AG’s submissions and upheld arguments by Nandlall.
The Court therefore made Order Rule Nisi of Mandamus, granted by Justice Reynolds, absolute. The AG was therefore ordered to appoint the Governing Board to the DCRA.
According to information obtained by Kaieteur News, he was further ordered to pay to the Applicant $100,000 in costs.
When he made the application, Nandlall noted that apart from the ex-officio members, the tenure of the members of the Governing Board who were last appointed during June 2013 expired in June 2016, and they were never re-appointed by the Minister, in accordance with Section 6 of the Act.
“The Board is non-functional, not properly constituted, and has not held a meeting for over a year,” he said.
Further, Nandlall stated that the conduct by the Minister not to appoint a Board constitutes multiple breaches of the Deeds and Commercial Registries Authority Act.
He added that an omission to perform such duties imposed by the said Act, constitutes an abuse of power, and conflicts with the policy of the Act and constitutes misfeasance in public office.
As a result of the Board not functioning, Nandlall said that there is inefficiency in the services rendered at the said Registries, which has an adverse impact on his practice and his ability to discharge his duties to clients competently and diligently.
In addition, for an order to be granted compelling Williams to appoint members to the Board, Nandlall had also asked for an order nisi of Mandamus compelling the Board to discharge functions given to it, in accordance with, and as mandated by the provisions of the Act.
Meanwhile, a plan to amend the DCRA Act is on the parliamentary agenda. The DCRA Act (2013 is still pending on the Order Paper.
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