The trial of former Attorney General (AG) Anil Nandlall, who is accused of stealing $2M in Nexis Lexis Commonwealth Law Reports from the state, commenced yesterday with a testimony from Daniel Persaud, an Accounts Clerk at the
Ministry of Legal Affairs.
Persaud, of Track A Coldingen, East Coast Demerara, told the court that he only has knowledge of some Law Books he received from Indira Anandjit, who was Permanent Secretary (PS) at the Ministry of Legal Affairs, after Nandlall demitted office as AG in 2015.
Guided by Special Organized Crime Unit Prosecutor, Patrice Henry, the Accounts Clerk recounted that on June 2, 2015, he received a telephone call from Anandjit who told him to visit her office. He said that he visited the Permanent Secretary’s office with the Immediate Use Book.
The witness explained that the Permanent Secretary had the Commonwealth Law Reports Volume 2 in her possession and he made entries about the description of the items, quantity and the serial number in the “Immediate Use Book.”
According to Persaud, the books were handed over to him by the PS and he took them to the library at the Ministry of Legal Affairs where he handed them over to Lana Best, the Librarian who signed for them.
Under cross examination, the witness stated that he made no record of Law Reports during Nandlall’s tenure at the Ministry.
Also testifying was Ms. Joe, a former Stores Clerk at the Ministry of Legal Affairs.
She held the position for 15 years before going into retirement in 2014.
According to Nandlall, when he took up the post as AG he did so at a loss and it was for that reason he agitated for the state to pay for the Law Reports.
He had said that the arrangement received the blessings of then Head of State, Donald Ramotar.
However, investigators are contending that because the books were bought with state funds they cannot be the property of Nandlall and in fact the state should not have entered into such an arrangement in the first place.
The Ministry of Legal Affairs is contending that there is no evidence of the agreement between Nandlall and Ramotar, and even assuming that there was such an agreement, the use of public funds in this manner is a flagrant violation of the Financial Management and Accountability Act (FMAA).
It was only recently that Nandlall sued Attorney General and Minster of Legal Affairs Basil Williams for $125M for what he saw as libelous and slanderous claims in relation to the said Law Reports; he also secured a Conservatory Order from the Supreme Court, preventing SOCU from seizing the 15 Lexis Law reports.
Nandlall, who is out on self bail, is being represented by a battery of lawyers— Neil Boston, Senior Counsel; Glen Hanoman, Mursaline Bacchus, Bibi Shaddick, Odai Ramischand, Priya Manickchand, Adrian Anamayah, Euclin Gomes, Sase Gunraj, Manoj Narayan, C.V Satram, L. Mark Conway, Sasha S. Mahadeo-Narayan, Rajendra R. Jaigobin.
This trial continues on July 13.
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