The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has hired a special team to prosecute Chief Elections Office Keith Lowenfield on the charges that he engaged in fraud in seeking to have APNU+AFC declared the winners of the March 02 polls when in fact the PPP won 15,000 more votes.
The DPP has hired prominent attorneys Glenn Hanoman and Sanjeev Datadin along with four others to prosecute the case.
Lowenfield faces three charges of misconduct in public office and three charges of forgery.
Lowenfield’s attorney, Nigel Hughes, criticized the move, saying the trial would not be fair because Datadin is a Member of Parliament of the PPP.
“Prosecutors have a duty to the court and under the Legal Practitioners Act they have a duty to be fair and open… we believe this can affect a fair trial,” Hughes told the News Room.
But Datadin said questions regarding his political association are mainly red herring since Hughes is also associated with the opposition political parties and was in fact the one who started the argument that 33 was not a majority in the 65-seat National Assembly and this led to a drawn-out political process.
The DPP decided to hire the team to prosecute the charges against Lowenfield after she decided to drop the private criminal charges against him and proceed with the charges developed by the Police.
Lowenfield was notified of this when he appeared before Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs on Friday morning.
Meanwhile, Hughes wants the matter to be tried and determined in the High Court by a 12-member jury. For that to happen, the Magistrate will have to determine that a case has been made out, much like a Preliminary Inquiry in murder cases, and then send the matter to the High Court.
“The allegation is that Guyana was defrauded and I think it would be most appropriate for 12 citizens instead of one Magistrate,” Hughes told the News Room.
But Datadin insists that the case is a straight forward that can be heard and decided on by the Magistrate.
“This is an uncomplicated case and a criminal case and should be treated as such. The Magistrate can determine guilt and innocence; the Magistrate can do the trial fairly and quickly,” Datadin stated.
Lowenfield came under scrutiny for preparing his elections report on March 5 which included inflated figures presented to him by Clairmont Mingo, the Returning Officer for Guyana’s largest voting district. If Mingo’s report was used, the country would have been cheated of the real victors of the elections – the PPP – and instead David Granger and his Coalition would have been sworn in for a second term.
Lowenfield would have known who the true winner of the elections was since he received the original Statements of Poll (SOPs) from all of the country’s polling stations.