Edghill prepared to approach police over charges against Gov’t Ministers

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By Devina Samaroo

Member of Parliament (MP) Juan Edghill says he is prepared to heed the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and approach the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to investigate allegations of misconduct in public office against Ministers Volda Lawrence and Dr George Norton.

Last week, Edghill and his colleague Vickram Bharat in the presence of the attorney Anil Nandlalll filed private criminal charges against the two ministers but the DPP issued a statement today announcing that the charges will be discontinued. The DPP explained that a police investigation should have been conducted before the filing of any charges.

Speaking to reporters subsequently, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Parliamentarian said he will be consulting with his lawyers on whether they will approach the Police to launch an investigation into their allegations against the ministers.

“If we have to go to the police, I must tell you that in the interest of justice, I am prepared to go to the police,” the PPP Parliamentarian said.

Minister of Health, Volda Lawrence and Minister of Social Cohesion, Dr. George Norton

Edghill said he will be waiting for the DPP to officially inform him, as the claimant, that the charges have been dropped before he contemplates his next step.

Nonetheless, the politician had expressed hope that the Government was bold enough to let the cases be heard in court.

“I would have thought that a responsible Government with a well-staffed Chambers of the Attorney General would be prepared to stand and explain to the people of Guyana, in the court of law, while these charges are “malicious” as stated,” Edghill argued.

Edghill, a former minister, said he is concerned that the Government does not want to measure itself to the same standards it holds against the previous administration.

“I, Bishop Juan Edghill, have not asked that the courts judge any citizen in any different manner as against what has been offered by SOCU against Ashni Singh and Winston Brassington,” he stated.

Meanwhile, Attorney Nandlall has contended that the DPP’s decision to scrap the charges against the two ministers has certainly strengthened Singh and Brassington’s intended challenge of their charges in the High Court.

Nandlall also cried “discrimination” in the DPP’s decision, noting that it is yet to pronounce on a similar request he made regarding the charges brought against the two former Government officials.

“I feel the DPP’s discontinuance of the charges against the two Ministers but apparent refusal to do likewise in relation to Singh and Brassington’s charges smacks of discrimination and inequality before the law,” Nandlall said in a press statement.

Ministers Roopnaraine, Patterson and Jordan

Before the DPP announced her decision, Nandlall and Edghill approached the Magistrate Court to file criminal charges against Ministers Winston Jordan, David Patterson and Dr Rupert Roopnaraine in relation to their role in the Durban Park Development Project.

Nandlall, speaking to reporters after filing the charges, explained that the ministers violated the Public Procurement Act and misconducted themselves in public office when they authorised $906M of public funds to Homestretch Development Incorporated.

Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan ordered that summons be served to the three ministers and that they make court appearances on April 30, 2018.

Ministers Lawrence and Dr Norton were expected to make court appearances tomorrow but since the charges have been scrapped, they will no longer need to.

It is expected that the Government will approach the DPP to review the charges which have now been brought against Ministers Jordan, Patterson and Dr Roopnaraine.

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