Chief Magistrate recuses self from Winston Jordan’s trial

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Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan on Friday recused herself from presiding over the trial of former Minister of Finance Winston Jordan who is accused of misconduct in public office.

Jordan, who served as Finance Minister under the previous APNU+AFC government from 2015 to 2020, is currently before the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court and is out on $3 million bail. 

He made his first court appearance on December 28, 2021 and he was not required to plead to the charge.

Previously, Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) prosecutor Tuanna Hardy had made an application for the case to be disposed of summarily in the Magistrates’ Court.

However, Jordan’s lawyers and fellow party members, Roysdale Forde S.C; Khemraj Ramjattan, Joseph Harmon and Darren Wade objected.

The attorneys asked for the matter to be transferred to the High Court for a jury trial.

Friday was set for Jordan’s attorneys to lay over their submissions; however, he showed up with a new addition to his battery of attorneys, Dawn Holder-Cush, who is also a former magistrate.

As a result, the Chief Magistrate informed the parties that there might be an “apparent bias”  since she knows Holder-Cush.  As such, in the interest of justice, the Chief Magistrate recused herself from presiding over the case.

She then transferred the matter to Principal Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus for May 12, when Jordan’s attorneys will make their submissions.

The charge against Jordan alleged that while being the concerned minister for the government-owned National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL),  between February 26 and July 31, 2020,  he willfully misconducted himself by acting recklessly when he signed NICIL (Transfer of Property) Order, No. 50 of 2020.

The court further heard that BK paid only $20,260,276 for a property valued at over $5 billion – a price that was grossly undervalued.

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