The Appeal Court has granted a stay in the matter of former Attorney General Anil Nandlall, who is on trial for the alleged theft of Law Reports from the State.
It is alleged that Nandlall, between May 18 and May 29, 2015, in the then capacity of Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, fraudulently converted 14 Commonwealth Law Reports, property of the Ministry of Legal Affairs, to his own use and benefit.
Nandlall has pleaded not guilty to the allegation and is out on self-bail, pending the outcome and determination of the trial. He is before Senior Magistrate Fabayo Azore in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
Late last year, Magistrate Azore ruled that Special Organized Crime Unit (SOCU) Prosecutor, Patrice Henry, was able to prove every element of the offence. In the circumstances, Nandlall was called upon to lead a defence.
Nandlall’s lawyers then approached the High Court for a stay to be granted in the matter, but Chief Justice Roxane George, dismissed the appeal against a no-case submission that was overruled by Magistrate Fabayo Azore in the trial.
They then took to the Court of Appeal which has now granted a stay in the matter so that Nandlall’s concerns about leading a defence can be heard. This is slated to be done on October 1, 2019.
In the Magistrates’ Courts the matter will be adjourned until the appeal is completed.
Nandlall has failed to appear in court since being ordered to lead a defence. On the last occasion that the matter was called the prosecutor had threatened to ask for an arrest warrant for Nandlall to be present in court. However, the defendant argued that he was never notified.
Attorney-at-law Glenn Hanoman is representing the defendant in the matter. Nandlall was previously reported as saying that when he took up the post of Attorney General, 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 an 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.
Nandlall was charged after SOCU, an arm of the Guyana Police Force, completed investigations.
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