Lawyer concerned about Lowenfield’s access to evidence, witnesses at GECOM
By Bibi Khatoon
Glenn Hanoman, the private prosecutor in the criminal case filed against Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield, has expressed concerns that he is still employed with the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) and has access to witnesses and sensitive documents which will be needed as evidence for the trial.
Lowenfield was on Friday placed on $450,000 bail for fraud, misconduct in office and breach of the public’s trust by providing results of the March 2 elections which he knows to be false.
Hanoman is representing People’s Progressive Party (PPP) member Desmond Morian and Member of The New Movement, Daniel Josh Kanhai who filed the private criminal charges on June 30.
“Mr. Lowenfield –it’s mind-boggling –but he still works at GECOM and therefore he still has access –as the custodian of records there –he still has access to a lot of the documents and people that we want to use in our case against him so we have a real fear that he is in a position to interfere in our case by virtue of his job,” Hanoman told the News Room.
Hanoman referred to the original Statements of Poll (SoPs) which has the true figures from the March 2 general and regional elections along with the Statements of Recount (SoRs) which were garnered from the national vote recount.
In court on Friday, Hanoman asked Magistrate Faith McGusty for Lowenfield to give a commitment that he will preserve those documents but was unsuccessful in his request.
“Unfortunately we were unable to extract such an undertaking from him,” Hanoman said.
Lawyers representing Lowenfield –Nigel Hughes and Senior Counsel Neil Boston –accused Hanoman of showing his political bias in the case.
However, the lawyer rubbished these claims.
“I have absolutely no political affiliation and I would not have agreed to prosecute this case unless I felt there was compelling evidence to substantiate the charge.
“Obviously the charge has political ramifications but as a lawyer that doesn’t concern me, what concern me is evidence,” Hanoman said.
Hanoman also expressed displeasure with the amount of bail Lowenfield was granted noting that the $450,000 for the three charges is insufficient for him to return to court on August 14, 2020.
“Usually the sum of money that anyone lodges as bail in a matter is supposed to be sufficient to ensure that he returns to court. A man that can afford to throw away $450,000, that sum may not be sufficient to bring him back to court,” the attorney said.
The Magistrate also denied Hanoman’s request for Lowenfield to lodge his passport.
Lowenfield has been evading the authorities since the charges were filed on June 30. He was initially slated to appear in court on July 3 but did not show up after the court’s bailiff was unable to serve the documents on him; as such Magistrate McGusty instructed the authorities to ensure Lowenfield is served before July 24.
He was finally served on Thursday at the GECOM Secretariat in Kingston, Georgetown.
Lowenfield came under scrutiny for preparing his elections report on March 5 which shows a victory for the incumbent APNU+AFC Coalition based on fraudulent and inflated figures provided by Clairmont Mingo, the Returning Officer for Guyana’s largest voting district- Region 4.
The national recount proved that Mingo inflated votes in favour of the Coalition and it was the PPP that actually won the March 2 elections by over 15,000 votes.
The PPP has maintained that Lowenfield knew the true winner the elections since he would have in his possession GECOM’s Statements of Poll (SOPs).
As a result of Mingo’s fraud, GECOM embarked on the national vote recount which showed the PPP won the elections but the CEO continued attempts to give the APNU+AFC Coalition a majority win.