Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall yesterday dismissed a claim about convicted Registrar of Deeds, Azeena Baksh resuming her post.
Baksh was charged in 2017 for procuring over $4M by false pretence. After being found guilty of the offence, she was spared jail-time but was ordered to reimburse the state $4,534,480. She was also ordered to pay a sum of $1M before leaving the court and was given an additional three months to pay the rest of the balance.
An article published in another section of the media stated that Baksh is expected to resume her duties as the Registrar of Deeds following a meeting between Nandlall and the Guyana Bar Association (GBA) as her reinstatement would have been “discussed”. The Attorney General stated that it was misleading and further highlighted that he has no powers of appointment, discipline, or dismissal regarding the office of the Registrar of Deeds.
In his release, he stated “The caption as well as the words attributed to me in the article in relation to the caption, are misleading. Admittedly, I may have contributed to the apparent error because I did not issue a press release, as I normally do, detailing the matters discussed at the meeting. For this omission, I accept responsibility.”
He said that he is aware that the Registrar was “unfortunately charged and convicted”, but he believes that the decision to charge Ms. Baksh was a politically driven one by his predecessor.
Her charge stated that while she was a member of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) between May 1, 2014, and January 31, 2017, she procured valuable securities valued at $4,534,480 to be delivered to her bank account. It stated that she falsely pretended to be a contracted employee of the Deeds and Commercial Registry Authority. Baksh was represented by Attorney Nigel Hughes and the ruling was handed down by Senior Magistrate Leron Daly at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
Nandlall said that Baksh was charged for simply receiving her salary from the Deeds and Commercial Registry Authority, which authorized the transfer of all staff from the Deeds Registry and converted them into employees of the Authority, inclusive of the Registrar of Deeds. The Attorney General lamented that there is nothing wrong with a person being appointed by one agency and paid by another. He also added that if a person was to receive two salaries, it would have been a different matter but that was not the case.
“The Deeds and Commercial Registry Authority Act authorizes the payment of all staff of the Authority, inclusive of the Registrar of Deeds,” Nandlall said.
Additionally, he stated that at his meeting with the GBA, Baksh’s resumption was indeed raised but it was established that her conviction is the subject of an appeal and if it were to be squashed or set aside by a Court then the Board of the Deeds and Commercial Registry will address the issue of her resumption. Despite that, she remains the Registrar of Deeds because she was not “dis-appointed” by the JSC.
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