Judge rejects request for removal from oil fund trial

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High Court Judge, Justice Navindra Singh Wednesday rejected a preliminary application by APNU attorney Selwyn Pieters for Singh to recuse himself from hearing the Natural Resource Fund (NRF) case as he feared the Judge was biased.

Pieters’ request was premised on a claim that Singh behaved hostile towards him by not letting him onto the zoom platform for a hearing scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

According to the attorney, his clients who are Opposition Chief Whip Christopher Jones and trade unionist Norris Witter have lost confidence in the Judge and no longer wanted him to preside over the case.

The Judge inquired from Pieters if he had made an application to the High Court to be heard via zoom since the case was being heard in person.

To this, Pieter told the court that he had contacted the Judge’s clerk.

Justice Singh told Pieters that he did not follow the proper court procedure and that his “logics seem difficult” to follow.

Attorney-General Anil Nandlall in his contribution to the exchange that ensured over the request said that the grounds raised by the attorney are irrelevant and called upon the Judge to dismiss the application.

In the end, the Judge dismissed the meritless application and proceed to continue hearing the NRF case.

The case challenges the lawful passage of the Natural Resource Fund Act.

The claim is that the legislation could not be considered to be lawfully passed because, among other things, the Opposition Members of Parliament were deprived of an opportunity to participate in the debate and subsequently, the Bill’s passage.

Jones and Witter claimed in their submissions to the court that the sitting of the National Assembly on December 29, 2021, was not conducted in accordance with the Standing Order and to some extent, the Constitution of Guyana.

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