Region Four Returning Officer (RO), Clairmont Mingo and former Health Minister and PNC/R Chairperson, Ms. Volda Lawrence, were yesterday slapped with another joint electoral fraud charge.
Mingo and Lawrence both made their second appearance at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts before Principal Magistrate Faith McGusty with their attorneys, Nigel Hughes and Darren Wade.
They were not required to plead to the charge of conspiracy to commit fraud. The charge stated that Mingo, having been procured by Lawrence on or about March 5, 2020, at the Command Centre for the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) on High and Hadfield Streets, uttered to the Chief Elections Officer (CEO), Keith Lowenfield, the election results for Region Four, knowing it to be forged, with intent to defraud the people of Guyana.
After the charge was read, Magistrate McGusty released Mingo and Lawrence on self bail and the matter was adjourned to November 16, 2020. While speaking to reporters outside of the court compound, Lawrence said that the prosecution asked for more time to gather their evidence. As such her attorney used that opportunity and asked the court for a lengthy period so that the case can be dealt with when it is called again.
On September 1, 2020, Mingo made his first court appearance, where he was slapped with multiple electoral fraud charges and was released on $600,000, bail.
He was arraigned before Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan, in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts. Mingo was slapped with four charges alleging that he misconducted himself in public office by failing to disclose the number of votes that were counted during the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections.
He was not required to plead to the indictable offence which stated that on March 5, 2020, and March 13, 2020, at High and Hadfield Streets, Georgetown, while being a Public Officer, that is to say the RO of Region Four for the March 2, 2020, Regional and General Elections, he declared a result without ascertaining the total number of votes which resulted in him willingly misconducting himself without any reasonable excuse or justification.
Hughes had told reporters that the State was represented by Tarique Mohamed, a prosecutor from the chambers of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), who made objections to bail being granted to Mingo on the gravity of the offences and based on the comments that were made by the Head of the Organisation of America States (OAS) Observer Mission, Bruce Golding, on the March 2, 2020, General and Regional Elections.
Hughes added that they then inquired into the status of the investigation and the court was informed that 21 more witnesses are remaining to be interviewed. The lawyer then used that opportunity to make a bail application for his client and it was granted in the sum of $150,000 each for the four charges – a total of $600,000.
Also, Mingo was required to lodge his passport and ordered to report to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters in Georgetown every Friday until the completion of the trial. The matter was adjourned to September 25, 2020, and on that date Mingo is expected to make his second court appearance.
On August 25, 2020, Mingo was arrested by police at his Calcutta, Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara home. This was after a probe was launched to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the formal reports that were made alleging criminal activities by Mingo and other GECOM officials as it relates to the March 2 elections and the events that followed.
Lawrence made her first appearance on August 24, 2020, and she was yesterday released on $100,000 bail for a joint private criminal charge which alleges the forging of a document that was used for a fraudulent election declaration on March 5, 2020.
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