Aug 13, 2020 News
By Renay Sambach
Attorney-at-law Nigel Hughes has written to the Director of Pubic Prosecution (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack, S.C, asking her to take over the prosecution of the private criminal charges that were filed against his client, Chief Elections Officer (CEO) of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Keith Lowenfield.
He is also asking for a dismissal of all the charges.
When contacted, Hughes shared that while he cannot share a copy of the letter, he confirmed that he has written a letter to the DPP regarding the private criminal charges against his client. He said: “In my letter, I asked the DPP to review the charges, take over the prosecution and that will lead to the charges being dropped against my client.”
However, during a shared comment with Kaieteur News, attorney-at-law Glenn Hanoman who is representing one of the applicants that filed the private criminal charges against the CEO- said that it is quite unusual for a lawyer to write a letter to the DPP asking her to review charges when he hasn’t seen the evidence in the matter.
Hanoman, also the Special Prosecutor, stated” “We have not released any of the evidence in the matter as yet to Mr. Hughes, evidence to which we have a lot of. The way I see it, Mr. Hughes publicizing that he wrote a letter to the DPP of that nature is just a publicity tactic.”
Lowenfield is expected to make his next court appearance tomorrow at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Courts. He is currently out on a total of $450,000 bail that was granted to him by Principal Magistrate, Faith McGusty.
The charges were brought by then Opposition, People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) member, Desmond Morian, and The New Movement Party (TNM) executive, Dr. Daniel Josh Kanhai. Morian is represented by Hanoman while Kanhai is represented by Mark Conway and George Thomas.
Initially, Lowenfield was expected to make his first court appearance on July 3, 2020.
However, after he failed to appear in court, Hanoman explained to the Magistrate that the court bailiff made several attempts to serve him with the private criminal charges, all of which ended in vain since the CEO kept evading the notice.
As a result, the Magistrate issued a summons for the CEO to appear in court, which was eventually served the day before the matter was called.
According to the first charge, it is alleged that Lowenfield, between the 5th day of March and 23rd day of June, 2020, at Georgetown, 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.
The second charge stated that 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, 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.
The third charge alleges that Lowenfield accepted falsified figures from the District Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo, knowing that the said figures do not match the results from the National Recount.
The particulars of that charge allege that Lowenfield, between the 5th day of March and 23rd day of June, 2020, at Georgetown, conspired with person(s) unknown to commit common law fraud, to wit, by representing to the Guyana Elections Commission, that tables attached to his Election Report dated 14th day of March, 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. He was not required plea to the indictable charges that were read to him.
Principal Magistrate McGusty granted Lowenfield bail in the sum of $150,000 for each charge, even as Hughes had asked that his client be released on self-bail, since he is the CEO of the GECOM.
Hanoman in an interview with this paper said that he had made no objection to bail being granted to Lowenfield but asked for it to be granted in a substantial amount. He also raised concerns about the CEO still being employed with the GECOM since he is the custodian of the entity and has access to important documents and witnesses that can be used as evidence against him. Hanoman also asked for the CEO to lodge his travel documents, but this request was denied by the magistrate.
Last week, the DPP, dismissed three private criminal charges that were filed against the Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Justice (Ret’d) Claudette Singh, alleging misconduct in public office.
In a letter, the DPP sent to the Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan, the DPP stated: “In exercise of the powers conferred on me by Article 187 (1) (c) of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, I hereby discontinue the charge in the above matter.”
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