Electoral Fraud Cases: Nandlall say slow trial a ‘travesty’ for Guyana

… Chancellor’s intervention expected to help

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Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall, SC, has described the slow progression of the high-profile elections fraud cases as a “great travesty” for Guyana, moreso since the next General and Regional Elections are just about a year away.

Mr. Nandlall, however, noted that expected intervention from the Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag.), Justice Yonette Cummings- Edwards should help move those cases forward.

“Thirty odd charges (are) pending in the Magistrates’ Court of this country involving some of the very players who misconducted themselves and abused their powers during that electoral process.

“After three years… the trial of those charges have not yet begun.

“I am the Minister of Justice, I cannot be pleased with this state of affairs, no decent-minded Guyanese can be pleased with this state of affairs,” the Attorney General lamented at a press conference held Monday at the Arthur Conference Centre, Liliendaal, Georgetown.

Former APNU+AFC government minister, Volda Lawrence; former GECOM Returning Officer for District Four, Clairmont Mingo; former GECOM Deputy Chief Election Officer, Roxanne Myers; APNU+AFC’s Chief Scrutineer, Carol Smith Joseph and former GECOM Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield are among those accused of fraud in the 2020 General and Regional Elections.

In December, Senior Magistrate Leron Daly adjourned the proceedings until January 15, 2024. On that date, a Case Management Conference (CMC) will be held to set the stage for the upcoming trial at Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.

Nandlall, however, raised concerns that the case has been stalled for years since Magistrates have recused themselves.

“Magistrates after magistrates have found reasons that can’t withstand scrutiny for not proceeding to try these cases and other related cases. Magistrates have found reasons after reason to recuse themselves,” he said.

However, he noted that the Director of Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack, S.C. wrote to the Chancellor, requesting her intervention since she has supervisory responsibility over magistrates locally.

“… The request is to assign magistrates specifically to deal only with these (charges),” Nandlall explained.

Nandlall hopes the trials will move ahead quickly, stating that the charges relate to misconduct in the electoral process.

“… I wish to make it abundantly clear that these are not politically driven or inspired charges. These are charges that relate to misconduct of an electoral process by persons who have been appointed and paid by the taxpayers of this country to make sure that the process meets the imperatives of transparency, legality and fairness.

“… These are the most serious offences pending in our court system,” the Attorney General said.

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