Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan has sued opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) parliamentarian, Juan Edghill for malicious prosecution and is claiming GY$200 million in damages.
The Finance Minister said Edghill’s private criminal charge of misconduct in public office on April 23, 2018 was done maliciously and resulted in harm to his image.
“I have suffered significant harm to my reputation and integrity as a direct result of the institution of the criminal proceeding by the respondent against me,” states Jordan in court papers seen my Demerara Waves Online News.
After the Magistrate had adjourned the hearing of the criminal proceedings for April 30, 2018, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) discontinued the charge on April 24, 2018. The DPP had said that in the interest of good governance, the matter should have been first reported to the police.
Minister Jordan, in his affidavit, notes that Edghill swore to the truth of the matter concerning the charge of misconduct in public office. He added that Edghill’s aim was to “embarrass, humiliate and cause me to suffer public odium and contempt.
The Finance Minister said since the institution of the charge against him was widely reported in local newspapers, radio, electronic media, social media and on the Worldwide Web, he received telephone calls from family, friends and overseas officials, inclusive of officials employed at international financial organisations. He added that even an ordinary prudent and cautious citizen placed as a complainant in the said criminal proceedings of misconduct in public office “against me could not have reasonably concluded that I was guilty of the Offence or even draw an inference that I was guilty of the offence of misconduct in public office as alleged” by Edghill.
In the affidavit, Jordan said Edghill was aware and ought to have been aware that he, as Finance Minister, did not authorise the payment of GY$906 million to Homestretch Development Inc and “therefore could not have held honest belief that” he did so.
“The Respondent was therefore aware or ought to have been reasonably aware that the sum of $906,000,000.00 (Nine Hundred and Six Million Dollars) was approved by the National Assembly and as Minister of Finance, I was obligated by Law to issue the necessary Warrant to ensure that the said approved sum of money was available to the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, and as such there could be no honest belief that I willfully misconducted myself as alleged by the Respondent,” said Jordan in his affidavit.
Edghill had accused Jordan of willfully misconducting himself between December 14, 2016 and March 31, 2017 “which amounted to an abuse of public trust without reasonable excuse or justification” by paying over the funds without any form of procurement process as prescribed by law.
Jordan wad charged along with Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson.