Last Updated on Thursday, 12 November 2015, 22:55 by GxMediaThe court is being asked to stay indefinitely fraud charges against former Public Service Minister, Dr. Jennifer Westford and her then Chief Personnel Officer, Margaret Cummings.
Senior Counsel, Neil Boston made the application on the grounds that the charges breached an amnesty that Minister of State, Joseph Harmon had publicly granted during a news conference on June 19, 2015. That amnesty, he said, had been for persons in possession of state assets. “They can quietly bring them (State assets) back to the Ministry, in which they came from or to the Office of the President. They can park them outside the gate…” the lawyer quoted Harmon as saying.
Addressing the court presided over by City Magistrate, Fabayo Azore, Senior Counsel Boston argued that there should be an “indefinite stay of the charges” in connection with the alleged illegal acquisition of several State-owned vehicles.
Police Prosecutor, Bharrat Mangru has to respond to the Senior Counsel’s submission on November 30, 2015.
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.