Last Updated on Monday, 25 June 2018, 17:32 by Denis Chabrol
Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP) parliamentarian, Juan Edghill on Monday appeared far from perturbed about Finance Minister, Winston Jordan’s GY$200 million lawsuit for “malicious prosecution”, saying the case never reached the courts for a determination.
“If I will lose the case? There is no case! If what you’ve reported that the Minister is suing me for malicious prosecution; the minister was not even prosecuted. I filed a charge which I am entitled to, as a citizen, that’s part of my right as a citizen to file a charge. The minister is to go to the court and defend that charge.
“If a court of competent jurisdiction had discharged that case against the minister, then he probably could have said he was maliciously prosecuted but no court of competent has dismissed that charge,” said Edghill when asked whether he was worried that he would lose the case.
The Director of Public Prosecutions discharged the charge on April 24, 2018, saying that in such a matter that has to do with good governance, the police should have been called in first.
However, the Finance Minister said the court would have to decide but he would not stand by idly and allow anyone to perforate his character. “The courts will decide whether it’s newspaper headlines or not. I don’t make joke with my integrity at all so he could spin how much he wants right now. He would have to spin in court eventually,” said Jordan when asked to respond to Edghill’s charge that he was merely seeking media publicity.
Monday’s almost back-to-back haggling between Edghill and Jordan stems from the PPP lawmaker filing a private criminal charge of misconduct in public office against the Finance Minister on April 23, 2018 for the spending of GY$906 million on the completion of the D’urban Park development project.
Edghill’s charge against the Finance Minister and the Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson appeared to have been a tit-for-tat response to the State’s criminal charges of misconduct in public office against former Finance Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh and former Head of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), Winston Brassington for the sale of three tracts of state lands for almost GY$1 billion without regard to valuations or the valuation process.
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 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.