Jan 12, 2021 News
Election fraud cases…
Kaieteur News – On January 28, 2021, Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo; the Chairperson of People’s National Congress, Volda Lawrence; and A Partnership for National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) activist, Carol Joseph-Smith are scheduled to make their next court appearance for the continuation of the electoral fraud cases.
The trio made their last court appearance on December 21, 2020, in the Georgetown Magistrates Court before Principal Magistrate, Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus.
Mingo and Lawrence are facing a joint charge, which alleged that on March 5, 2020, in Georgetown, with intent to defraud the public, they uttered a certain forged document, that is to say, a report purporting to be a true declaration of all votes cast in District Four for the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections, knowing said report to be forged.Mingo also faced another joint charge with Joseph-Smith. That charge alleged that on March 13, 2020, they uttered a forged document purporting to be a true report of all votes cast in the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections while knowing that the report was forged.
Additionally, Smith-Joseph faced two individual charges, which stated that on March 13, 2020, at High and Hadfield Streets, she conspired with Mingo and others to declare a fraudulent count of votes for District Four for both the general and regional elections.
They denied the charges and Mingo was placed on $60,000 bail for the two charges; Lawrence was placed on $30,000 bail for the joint charge she faces. Meanwhile, Smith-Joseph was placed on a total of $90,000 bail for the three charges.
The trio is being represented by attorney-at-laws, Nigel Hughes and Ronald Daniels. Meanwhile, the matters are being prosecuted by a team of special prosecutors, attorneys-at-law, Glenn Hanoman; George Thomas; Mark Conway and Ganesh Hera.
On October 28, 2020, the special prosecutor team presented a fiat to the court that they received from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack, S.C., giving them the legal permission to prosecute the trio.
Member of Parliament (MP) and attorney-at-law, Sanjeev Datadin, was initially on the fiat. Objections were made by Hughes to Datadin being a part of the special prosecution team, since he is an MP for the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) and by giving him the responsibility to prosecute the matter that is highly political in nature, would result in his clients not having a fair trial.
However, during November 2020, Datadin wrote a letter to the DPP withdrawing himself from the special prosecution team, saying that he does not want to be the source of delays in the matters.
Kaieteur News had reported that some other issues were also discovered on the fiat and the fiat was sent back to the DPP to be corrected. The fiat has since been corrected and the matters are currently ongoing.
Kaieteur News had reported that on August 31, 2020, Mingo was slapped with four individual 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 placed on $600,000 bail for those charges.
On September 11, Mingo and Lawrence were slapped with a joint charge, which alleged 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.
Police had announced last August that they will be conducting a comprehensive investigation into the criminal conduct of Lowenfield; the Returning Officer of Region Four, Mingo; and others in relation to the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections and the events that followed.
During the ongoing probe, several GECOM officials were arrested and put before the court for electoral fraud charges.
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