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High Court extends police detention of Clairmont Mingo

Last Updated on Friday, 28 August 2020, 19:02 by Denis Chabrol

The High Court on Friday granted a request by Police Commissioner Nigel Hoppie for Region Four Returning Officer to be held in custody until 2:20  Saturday afternoon.

He was arrested on Tuesday afternoon at his home at Mahaicony, East Coast Demerara in connection with allegations that he committed fraud during the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections.

Further, the High Court has ordered that Mr. Mingo report to CID headquarters at 9 O’clock every morning from Sunday morning.

He also has to lodge his passport with police and notify the police of any change of address.

Efforts by Mr. Mingo to secure his release on a habeas corpus application after Justice of Appeal, Rishi Persaud agreed with Attorney General Anil Nandlall and found that Attorney-at-Law Darren Wade had cited the wrong section of Guyana’s constitution.

“You identified the incorrect section of the Constitution,” Justice Persaud told Mr. Wade. After Mr. Wade asked for time to amend the order and for the case to be adjourned until the next move by the police, the Attorney General remarked that “what he is saying here is worse than what the application speaks to,”

Further, Guyana’s constitution states that no one must be held in custody for more than 72 hours unless otherwise approved by the court.

Mr. Wade acknowledged the guidance by  Justice Persaud and withdrew the case.

Justice Persaud told Mr. Mingo’s lawyer that he should await the expiration of the 72-hour deadline. That deadline expires at 2:30 this afternoon.

Mr. Mingo moved to the court on Thursday  to secure his release on the grounds that he was held without being told a proper reason.

In court papers, the Region Four Returning Officer has denied allegations of fraud.

The Guyana Police Force has said that Mr. Mingo and other employees of the Elections Commission have been accused of fraud related to the March 2, 2020 general and regional elections. At least two other GECOM employees have been detained and questioned by police.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has taken over private criminal charges against Mr. Mingo, Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield and People’s National Congress Reform Chairman Volda Lawrence following complaints concerning the conduct of the March 2, 2020 polls.