Westford, Personal Assistant freed of theft charges

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Former Minister of Public Service, Jennifer Westford and her former aide, Margaret Cummings, who were accused of stealing over $600M from the State, walked out of the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court on Friday free women.

Magistrate Judy Latchman on Friday ruled in favour of a No Case Submission made by their lawyer, Dexter Todd.

Magistrate Latchman ruled that the 24 charges were “bad in law” which was supported with the evidence of the 48 witnesses who were called to testify during the trial.

The Magistrate explained that according to Guyana’s constitution, Westford was a Government Minister and was not a Public Officer.

In his No Case Submission, the lawyer had argued that the prosecution had failed to establish that a criminal offence was committed by Westford or Cummings individually.

Todd had also noted that the prosecution failed to prove that the monies were actually stolen and that it was stolen by the two defendants.

The attorney had argued that the prosecution ignored the lawful meaning of a public officer and proceeded to try a then Minister under an offence which is not established in law.

Westford and Cummings were on trial for the theft of $639,420,000, belonging to the Government of Guyana, between October 19, 2011, and April 28, 2015, while being employed with the former Public Service Ministry.

It is alleged that between 2011 and 2015, Westford signed 24 memoranda, amounting to $639,420,000, and sent them to the Permanent Secretary at the then Office of the President to be signed and approved.

The monies were allegedly requested for activities to be conducted in the various administrative regions.

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