One month after lawyers assured the court that Dr. Ashni Singh and Winston Brassington, would appear in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts for a fourth charge of Misconduct in Public Office to be read to them, Singh yesterday failed to make an appearance before a City Magistrate.
Singh and Brassington who are two of the highest ranking officials of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government were both slapped with a fourth charge of Misconduct in Public Office.
The two are jointly charged in connection with wrongdoings 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.
It is alleged 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; and Brassington, being and performing duties as the Chief Executive Officer of NICIL, a company owned by the Government, 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, at $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.
The two men are already facing three 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) Roxanne George-Wiltshire.
Yesterday, when the matter was called in Senior Magistrate Leron Daly courtroom, Attorney-at-law Anil Nandlall, who is representing Singh, told the court that his client is out of the jurisdiction busy working, and was unable to be in Guyana for the charge to be read to him.
He went on to tell the court that SOCU prosecutors are playing a “cat and mouse game” and are making a mockery of the Law.
However, SOCU Prosecutor, Trenton Lake argued that the court should take a certain action against Singh since the matter was called a month ago.
The prosecutor went on to tell the court that both parties are fully aware that they were to be present in court, since their lawyers were in contact with them.
The prosecutor went on further to ask the Magistrate to read the charge to Brassington since he was present in court.
Lake’s application did not sit well with Nandlall who told Magistrate Daly that the charge cannot be read to his client alone, since it is a joint charge.
Nandlall went on to ask the court for an adjournment in the matter. He also requested that the matter be reassigned to Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan where the three charges were first read.
Magistrate Daly after listening to both sides adjourned that matter to July 26, when Singh and Brassington are expected to appear before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan.
Both men are currently out on $6M bail each in relation to those three charges.
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