The Prosecutor in the fraud case against former Minister of Public Service, Dr. Jennifer Westford and her then Chief Personnel Officer, Margaret Cummings says their lawyer’s arguments for the matter to be put down indefinitely are being made in the wrong court.
The case has been adjourned until January 19, 2015 when City Magistrate, Fabayo Azore would deliver her decision.
Responding to arguments by Defence Lawyer, Neil Boston, the Police Prosecutor Bharrat Mangru said Minister of State, Joseph Harmon never issued an amnesty and so alleged executive abuse was a matter for the High Court.
Mangru said the jurisdiction of the Magistrates’ Court in dealing with abuse of process was limited to delays and fairness of a trial.
Boston on November 12, 2015 already argued that the Minister of State’s public position that no one would have been charged once persons had returned the vehicles quietly at the Office of the President, now the Ministry of the Presidency. On that basis, he wants the Magistrate to stay the case indefinitely.
Westford remains on GUY$800,000 bail and Cummings is on GUY$1.2 million bail.
Westford, during her arraignment, had said she was innocent of the charges that state that between July 17, 2014 and June 23, 2015, she attempted to transfer eight State-owned vehicles to four persons, including her partner, Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Coast Guard Commander Gary Beaton, Osbert McPherson, Wayne Walker and Delroy Lewis. Cummings was charged with forgery of documents purporting to show that the eight vehicles had been purchased.
During the investigations and prior to the institution of charges, police had said that Westford had facilitated the return of the vehicles.
The Defence Lawyer said his application had nothing to do with prejudice but about Executive abuse by wrongfully misusing the process of the court. He said although all the vehicles had been returned to the Ministry of the Presidency, Westford and Cummings were charged, a clear breach of Harmon’s promise.
“Harmon joined the breaking news train. He had to get in his punches,” remarked the Defence Lawyer in reference to several news reports about the disappearance of several State-owned vehicles.