One month after two of the highest ranking officials of the previous People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government were slapped with charges of Misconduct in Public Office, Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) Prosecutors are prepared to institute another charge against Former Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh and former head of National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) Winston Brassington.
Yesterday, SOCU Prosecutor Lawrence Harris appeared in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts before Acting Chief Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs Marcus with the new charge. However the men were not in court for the matter to be read to them by the Magistrate.
The two men are already facing three similar charges of Misconduct in Public Office. However Justice Franklyn Holder has put a temporarily halt on those criminal proceedings against the Former Ministers.
This ruling has halted Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan from proceeding with the matters, until the hearing and determination of the substantive challenge over the validity of the charges which is before Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George.
On this fresh charge that was brought to the court yesterday, Brassington and Singh are being accused of wrongdoing in the Sanata Textiles deal with Queens Atlantic Investment Inc.
Queens Atlantic Investment Inc. is owned by Dr. Ranjisinghi ‘Bobby’ Ramroop and Dr. Randy Singh, who are close friends of former President Bharrat Jagdeo.
The new charge against the duo states that, “Dr. Ashni Singh, being and performing duties of Minister of Finance, and Chairman of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited, a company owned by the Government of Guyana; and Brassington, being and performing duties as the Chief Executive of NICIL, a company owned by the Government of Guyana, between October 26, 2010 and December 20, 2010 at Lot 126 Barrack Street, Kingston, Georgetown, by way of Agreement of Sale and Purchase, acted recklessly when they sold to Queens Atlantic Investment Inc, Sanata Texiles Complex, with building and erections thereon, that is to say, Parcel 4702, Part of Plantation Ruimveldt, situated on the East Bank Demerara, being 18.871 acres, being $697,864,800.00 plus VAT, knowing that the said property was valued at the sum of $1,042,403,500.00, and was therefore being sold at a price that was grossly undervalued, thereby creating a breach of their duties”.
Attorney-at-Law Stanley Moore, who is one of the lawyers representing the defendants, told the court that his clients were not aware that they were to appear in Court; hence they will be notified and will be present on the next court date.
SOCU Prosecutor Harris told the court that the new charge was filed on Thursday.
Magistrate Marcus adjourned that matter until June 29 when the duo are expected to appear before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan for the charge to be read to them.
Last month, both Brassington and Singh were slapped with three charges for Misconduct in Public Office and were each granted $6M bail.
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