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APNU+AFC takes aim at DPP Chambers

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 January 2021, 9:11 by Denis Chabrol

Director of Public Prosecutions, Shalimar Hack.

The opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) has taken aim at the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Chambers,  strongly suggesting that the decisions are politically motivated.

Opposition Leader Joseph Harmon stayed clear of criticising the DPP Shalimar Hack directly, but he questioned the advice from her Chambers. “She is a constitutional office holder and so I would not want to comment too much on wat would tend towards her character or integrity but what I can say is that the work which comes out of her office is reeking of partiality, of bias,” he said outside the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court where then Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson and former General Manager of the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation, Rolston Adams appeared on fraud charges.

Mr. Harmon’s assertion came against the backdrop of then Police Legal Advisor, Retired Justice Claudette Singh clearing former Minister of Public Infrastructure  David Patterson of any criminal liability in connection with the award of a GYD$163 million contract to the Dutch company, Arie Mol/Lievense CSO, to conduct a feasibility study for a new Demerara Harbour Bridge. Ms. Singh had stated that  there was no misuse of funds, no evidence that no criminal offence had been committed and no evidence of any collusion between the company and the  staff of the Ministry of Public Infrastructure.

However, the Public Procurement Commission (PPC) had found that the company had been procured based on an unsolicited expression of interest rather than bids through the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board. The contract had been awarded after Mr. Patterson had taken the proposal to Cabinet which approved the payment from the Demerara Harbour Bridge Corporation’s Asphalt Plant.

Under the coalition administration, former Housing Minister Dr. Irfaan Ali, former Finance Minister Dr. Ashni Singh and former Head of the Privatisation Unit/ National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL) had been charged with financial crimes.

However, under the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) administration those charges were all withdrawn.

Under the Harmon’s coalition-led administration, private charges of misconduct in public office against then then APNU+AFC ministers Volda Lawrence, George Norton, Winston Jordan, David Patterson and Dr. Rupert Roopnaraine had been discontinued by the DPP.

As late as August 2020, three private criminal charges against the Chairman of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Retired Justice Claudette Singh had been withdrawn shortly after the change of government.

“The police have done their work, the courts have done their work and it is just a matter of time and in she comes and nolle prosequi’s (will no longer prosecute) these matters but I think there has to be a stopping to that. On the other hand, look what she is doing to other Guyanese and so while I do not question the integrity of the Director of Public Prosecutions, I question the quality of the work which is coming out of her office. I do not know if it she, herself, or if there are other persons who have infiltrated that office that might very well be coming there with a political agenda and sending out instructions from that office that has the effect of letting (alleged) criminals go,” he said.