Jagdeo wonders if court losses “a conduit for corruption”

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The recent decision by the State to pay local company Guytrac $226M in yet another out of court settlement has raised concerns for the former president and now opposition leader, Bharrat Jagdeo.

At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Jagdeo suggested that the State is deliberately losing millions of dollars in matters before the court.

“I wonder if people are benefiting financially from all of these settlements by claiming lack of knowledge that it is a conduit for corrupt activities,” Jagdeo said.

Last month, the State had also lost a case to Toolsie Persaud Limited. In that matter, the High Court ordered that the Government pay the company $187M.

Before that, the State lost the Dipcon case at the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) and was ordered to pay $446M to the company.

Additionally, the State opted to pay BK International US$5.7M in an out-of-court settlement. DDL had also benefitted from a $3.8B tax write-off in an out of court settlement.

In most of these cases, Attorney General Basil Williams claimed lack of knowledge of the cases or blamed the former administration.

Just a few days ago, the Ministry of Legal Affairs placed a notice in the papers calling for persons who are representing the State in court cases to make contact with the Attorney General.

But Jagdeo is questioning the competency of the Attorney General to now undertake such an exercise after three years in office.

“Now he wants to know who had been doing representations on behalf of the chambers for cases in the past and current cases. He doesn’t know, he puts out an ad now, why didn’t he put that out three years ago,” Jagdeo expressed.

Jagdeo reminded that the PPP had offered to brief the coalition administration on these matters during the transition period following the elections in 2015 but they never accepted the offer.

When asked earlier this year to comment on his track record of court case losses, the Attorney General rejected those claims.

He had contended that the cases which he is certain he will win have not come up as yet before the courts.

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