Private criminal charges were filed yesterday in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts against Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield by two private citizens, for his conduct during the electoral process. Both charges revolve around Lowenfield’s presentation of false results to the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
One informant, Daniel Josh Kanhai has accused Lowenfield of the offence of Conspiracy to Commit a Felony contrary to Section 34 of the Criminal Law (Offences) Act. The crime is punishable with imprisonment for seven years.
Kanhai is a candidate of The New Movement (TNM), a political party which contested the March elections.
The particulars of the offence state, “The accused between the 5th day of March and 23rd day of June, 2020, at Georgetown, in the Georgetown Magisterial District, County of Demerara, State of Guyana, conspired with person(s) unknown to commit the common law offence of fraud, to wit, by representing to the Guyana Elections Commission, that tables attached to his Election Report dated 23rd June, 2020, accurately reflected the true results of the said election, in order to materially alter the results of the said election, with intent to defraud, knowing the said tabulation to be false.”
Another informant, Desmond Morian has accused Lowenfield of the offence of Misconduct in Public Office contrary to the common law.
Morian is a member of the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), a political party which contested the March elections.
The particulars of the offence state, “The accused between the 5th day of March and 23rd day of June, 2020, while performing his duty as the Chief Elections Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission, without lawful excuse or justification, willfully misconducted himself at Georgetown, County of Demerara, State of Guyana, a place within the Georgetown Magisterial District by ascertaining results of the 2nd March, 2020 General and Regional Elections for Guyana knowing the said results to be false, the said willful misconduct amounting to a breach of the public’s trust in the Office of the Chief Elections Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission.”
Lowenfield has been accused of bias in his conduct as Chief Elections Officer, by the PPP/C and A New and United Guyana (ANUG). In his capacity as head of the Secretariat, he has made four documented attempts to present results to the Elections Commission which did not reflect the will of the voting populace as expressed on March 2 and certified at the National recount. While the recount shows the PPP/C to have amassed a national lead of 15,416 valid General Election votes over APNU+AFC, each of Lowenfield’s attempts would hand victory to the APNU+AFC Coalition.
The first attempt was after the first fraudulent declaration was made by Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo on March 5. Lowenfield had written to the Elections Commission requesting a meeting for the submission of a report on the elections results, but the Opposition Commissioners refused to meet. Mingo’s declaration was later vitiated by the Chief Justice, after she determined that he did not follow the law on the execution of the tabulation process.
The second attempt by Lowenfield to present a false result was after Mingo’s second fraudulent declaration, of March 13. This tabulation, much like the first, was marred by a lack of transparency and reports of doctored figures. Even as the Elections Commission contemplated a recount, Lowenfield had handed the Chair a report, and she made a decision that the Commission would not consider it.
The third attempt by Lowenfield was in the preliminary report he submitted to GECOM after the recount came to a close. In that report, he had said that the elections could not be ascertained to meet the standards of fairness and credibility, and suggested dumping 269,619 valid General Election votes on trumped up claims of electoral fraud and irregularities.
The fourth attempt by Lowenfield is currently in play. It involves a report, which seeks to dump 115,844 valid General Election votes. He presented this report, against the direction of the Chair, Justice Claudette Singh, who had instructed him to present a report on the results of the recount. Lowenfield claims he acted on the guidance of the Court of Appeal, which had made a ruling that “more votes” in Article 177 (2) of the Constitution means “more valid votes” – the article denotes the criterion for the identification of the President-elect. However, at the time of submission of Lowenfield’s report, a stay on the Court’s ruling was in effect. In addition, the results of the recount were already certified as valid.
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