People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) executive, Anil Nandlall said that a “generous few” had to pool their resources last Tuesday to post bail for former Minister of Finance, Ashni Singh and former Director of the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL), Winston Brassington.
Nandlall said this in his most recent column, Unruly Horse.
Singh and Brassington were charged with Misconduct in Public Office.
The Attorney at Law, who is representing both of the accused, said that the nation witnessed how the law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system can be used by the government against the citizenry.
Nandlall noted that the offence of Misconduct in Public Office has never before been instituted in Guyana’s recorded legal history. He said, “These charges allege no dishonesty against the accused persons; they allege no fraudulent conduct; they allege no misappropriation of funds; they do not allege that the accused persons obtained any personal gains from these transactions; neither do they allege any missing funds from the proceeds of the sales in question. All that they allege is that the sales were done without obtaining a certificate of valuation.”
Nandlall said that there is evidence in the public domain that these sales were conducted via a public tender “and the prices, at which the properties were sold, were generated by market forces. They were audited by the Auditor General, who never queried them. These audited reports were examined by a Public Accounts Committee (PAC), chaired by the Parliamentary Opposition, now in Government, who never questioned them.”
Nandlall noted that Sigh and Brassington were overseas when the charges were filed. The summonses for them to appear in Court on the 8th of May 2018, at 1:30pm, were only served at their respective addresses in Guyana around mid-day of the 7th of May 2018.
Nandlall said that notwithstanding the fact that these summonses were not served personally Singh and Brassington appeared with their attorneys-at-law at the Court to which they were summoned, promptly at 1:30 PM.
Nandlall was keen to note that his clients and comrades are prominent in society and have no criminal antecedents.
Nandlall said that the prosecution did not oppose bail which means that the Prosecution was satisfied that the men were not flight risks and that they will turn up for their trials.
The lawyer said that he applied for Singh and Brassington to be released on recognisance but his application was rejected and bail was imposed in the sum of $6M each! “I submit with the greatest of respect, that the quantum of bail imposed was punitive and excessive.”
Nandlall said that, “Every day, persons of no known profile pass through the very court system without being handcuffed, and moved from the upper flat to the lower flat of the Magistrate’s Court building without resorting to the infamous schute; nor are they placed in the “holding cell” while arrangements are being made for their bail to be lodged.”
But, Singh and Brassington were handcuffed and transported through the schute, “making them available for the flashing cameras of the large contingent of reporters present. It was simply done to humiliate, degrade and publicly embarrass them. Were it not for a generous few, who pooled their resources together to raise the whopping $12M imposed as bail, a few persons would have been, presumably, more than joyful because Singh and Brassington would have had to spend, at least, overnight, in prison.”