Already facing three private criminal charges relating to electoral fraud, Guyana’s Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield was Monday afternoon slapped with six additional charges, this time coming from the Guyana Police Force.
Lowenfield who went to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters voluntarily around noon on Monday was later arrested and then taken to the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court in handcuffs to answer to the new charges.
The six charges include three counts of misconduct in public office and three counts of forgery.
Although the prosecution objected to bail, Lowenfield was granted his pre-trial liberty in the sum of $50,000 on each charge – a total of $300,000 on the six charges.
The matter will be called again at 09:45 hrs on October 23, 2020, for disclosure of statements. Lowenfield continues to be represented by attorneys Neil Boston and Nigel Hughes.
Hughes said based on his own speculation, the charges by the police were made so as to have more impact than the private criminal charges against Lowenfield.
He opined that the stage is being set to have both Lowenfield and his Deputy suspended from the Guyana Elections Commission.
“My personal view is that the intention is to have Mr. Lowenfield removed from his substantive position and so by the filing of charges there will be a basis; the Elections Commission will likely consider an application for them to be suspended from office,” he told reporters outside the Georgetown Magistrates Court.
In relation to the private criminal charges already before Lowenfield, that trial is set to start on October 26.
On August 14, the case filed against Lowenfield was postponed until August 24, 2020, as lawyers were then awaiting a decision from the DPP on whether she will agree with submissions made by counsel to drop the charges against him.
The charges against Lowenfield were filed on June 30 by People’s Progressive Party (PPP) member Desmond Morian and Member of The New Movement Daniel Josh Kanhai relating to 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.
Lowenfield first appeared in court on July 24 where he was granted $450,000 bail; $150,000 bail on each charge.
Lowenfield came under scrutiny for preparing his elections report on March 5 which showed 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 received Statements of Poll (SOPs) from all of the polling stations across the country.