Updated with Audio+Video: High Court blocks Magistrates’ Court hearing of charges against Singh, Brassington

Last Updated on Monday, 21 May 2018, 14:50 by Denis Chabrol

Former Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh and former Chief Executive Officer of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited, Winston Brassington accompanied by their lawyer, Anil Nandlall as they entered they Georgetown Magistrates’ Court compound on Tuesday, May 8, 2018.

High Court Judge, Franklin Holder Monday morning blocked the Magistrates’ Court from hearing criminal charges of misconduct in public office against former Finance Minister, Ashni Singh and former Head of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited, Winston Brassington.

Defence Lawyer, Anil Nandlal told reporters what the judge decided in the in-chamber proceedings away from the glare of the media and public.

The accused should have returned to the Magistrates’ Court on June 5, 2018. They have since returned overseas.

Nandlall and Sase Gunraj emerged from the in-chamber proceedings and told reporters that Justice Holder allowed their request for a stay in the Lower Court proceedings before the Chief Magistrate, Ann Mc Lennan was granted because it would not be legally correct for the inferior court to hear the matter which is the subject of a legal challenge in a superior court. Listen to Mr. Nandlall

Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire is Friday due to begin hearing the substantive matter concerning the constiutionally of the three joint charges.

Solicitor General, Kim Kyte is confident that the State would win the substantive case to allow the Magistrates’ Court to proceed with the criminal charges.

Lawyers for the former Finance Minister and the former NICIL Head who oversaw the privatisation and divestment of State assets for more than two years argue in court papers seen by Demerara Waves that

  • according to Guyana’s constitution, they are not public officers
  • the decision to sell the three tracts of land for more than GY$900 million dollars was made by Cabinet
  • the valuations do not reflect the true market value for lands and are determined realistically by public tender
  • the charges are politically motivated to make the opposition People’s Progressive Party appear to be corrupt