北京通惠河楼凤

AG no-show in court, case delayed

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first_imgSingh, Brassington challengeThe High Court challenge to the misconduct in public office charges against two officials of the former Government was delayed and rescheduled to early next month after Attorney General Basil Williams was a no-show for submissions.The Court was told that the AG had to attend Cabinet at the time the matter was slated to be heard on Tuesday and could not appear in Court although the hearing was fixed almost one month ago. Former Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh and former National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) Chairman Winston Brassington are challenging their misconduct in public office charges thatFormer Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh and former NICIL Chairman Winston Brassingtonwere brought against by the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).Their challenge came up before acting Chief Justice Roxane George, SC, in chambers at the High Court on Tuesday. It was expected that open court proceedings would have continued, but this was not the case on Tuesday. Justice George adjourned the matter to November 1, 2018 when the AG’s side should be responding to submissions by the applicants. This was according to lawyer for the applicants, Anil Nandlall, who told reporters that prior to Tuesday’s hearing, the AG’s Chambers were always represented by a team of the Solicitor General and other lawyers.“Hopefully, he shows up or someone authorised by him shows up who is prepared to do the arguments because the case is fixed,” Nandlall noted on Tuesday.The defendants, who were released on $6 million bail each, denied the charges levelled against them by SOCU earlier this year. The men are accused of selling various properties at prices the State now contends were grossly undervalued. The charges relate to the sale of several plots of land on the East Coast ofAttorney General, Basil WilliamsDemerara to National Hardware Guyana Ltd for over $598 million; the sale of land to Scady Business Corporation for $150 million, and to Multicinemas Guyana Inc for $185 million.Another set of charges was later filed against Singh and Brassington, over the sale of the former Sanata Textiles Complex to Queens Atlantic Investment Inc (QAII). This, like other charges, was also challenged in the High Court.It was alleged that between October 26 and December 20, 2010, the men acted recklessly when they agreed to the sale of the Sanata Textiles Complex to QAII. According to the charge, the 18.976-acre property was sold for $697.8 million, but it was valued at $1.04 billion. However, according to privatisation documents published by NICIL, the property was valued at $245 million by the Government’s Chief Valuation Officer, but QAII paid $809.5 million for the property – more than three times the Government’s valuation as Guyana Times had reported.At the last court hearing, the acting Chief Justice heard further arguments from Attorneys representing Singh and Brassington where Nandlall disputed the application of the British common law principle to Guyana’s laws, having cited conflicts with this country’s Constitution with the definition of a public officer. He had observed that the particulars of the offence for which the men were charged had “no reference” that Singh and Brassington are public officers, saying that this was a fundamental defect.He had stated that it would be a worrying development for citizens to face charges for having accepted a lower valuation where the lower valuation was calculated by Government’s own Chief Valuation Officer.last_img read more