The matter against the Chief Elections Officer(CEO), Keith Lowenfield was postponed until October 9, 2020, after a representative from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), failed to appear in court yesterday.
Lowenfield and one of his attorneys, Senior Counsel, Neil Boston appeared in the G
eorgetown Magistrates’ Courts before Principal Magistrate Faith McGusty for the continuation of the criminal charges that were filed against him. The charges allege fraud, misconduct in public office, and breach of public’s trust.
The criminal charges were filed against Lowenfield on June 30, 2020, by People’s Progressive Party (PPP) member, Desmond Morian, and The New Movement Party (TNM) executive, Dr. Daniel Josh Kanhai.
The first charge 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.
Lowenfield is currently out on a total of $450,000, bail for the criminal charges.
According to information, yesterday was set for the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack, S.C, to make a decision on the way forward for the charges. However, after the DPP failed to make an appearance the matter was adjourned and the trial is expected to commence on October 26, 2020.
While speaking to reporters yesterday, attorney Boston said three statements were presented to the court by attorney-at-law Glenn Hanoman who is representing one of the complainants. He added that Hanoman asked for one month to file additional statements and the Magistrate set October 9, 2020, as the final date for the prosecution to disclose all statements in the matter.
Boston also stated that the prosecution does not have evidence to support the charges that were filed against his client and as such he will be seeking a dismissal.
On the previous hearing of the matter, a representative from the DPP’s office, Tarique Mohamed, informed the court that the DPP has intervened in the matter and that on the next hearing a decision would be made on the way forward. As such, the matter was adjourned awaiting the decision of the DPP.
Last month, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) announced that the DPP had decided to take over the criminal charges that were filed against Lowenfield; Returning Officer of Region Four, Clairmont Mingo, and former Health Minister and Chairperson of the People’s National Congress/Reform (PNC/R), Volda Lawrence, in relation to the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections and the events that followed.
According to the police, a comprehensive investigation into the allegations would be conducted by the GPF.
The release highlighted that, “The DPP indicated that in exercise of powers vested in her under Article 187 of the Constitution, she will take over the private criminal charges currently pending in the Magistrates’ Courts in relation to the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections and the aftermath.”
That decision was made almost two weeks after one of Lowenfield’s lawyer, Nigel Hughes, made an application to the DPP asking her to review and take over the prosecution of the private criminal charges that were filed against his client.
According to the release, on August 21, 2020, the GPF received formal reports which alleged criminal conduct by Lowenfield, Mingo and others in relation to the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections and the aftermath.
The release had stated that as a result of the formal reports being made, legal advice was obtained from the DPP who advised the GPF to launch an investigation into the allegations in accordance to its mandate.
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