Litigation brought against former Government officials, Dr. Ashni Singh and Winston Brassington is on hold as Justice Franklin Holder granted a Stay on the Magistrates’ Court case.
Dr. Singh, a former Finance Minister and Brassington, former Director of the National Industrial and Commercial Investment Limited (NICIL) were charged jointly for misconduct in public office. The charges against Singh and Brassington are in relation to the sale of three tracts of government land, at prices believed to be far below the market prices. The duo recently appeared in the Magistrates’ Court. They were placed on $6M bail, each.
However, lawyers representing the two are contending that the charges are without merit and so an Application of Stay has been filed.
Justice Holder granted Stay this morning.
The Stay will be in effect until the High Court determines whether the charges of misconduct in public office have merit.
Chief Justice (acting) Roxanne George-Wiltshire is expected to hear that challenge this Friday.
Lawyers representing Dr. Singh and Brassington have applied for the charges to be quashed on the basis that the common law offence of misconduct in public office cannot be committed where the servant in question is specifically excluded from consideration as a “public officer” under the Constitution of Guyana and/or general principles. As such any alleged misconduct by the applicants does not constitute misconduct in public office.
However, Solicitor General Kim Kyte maintains that the matter before the CJ has no “realistic prospect of success” and that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) (Shalimar Ali-Hack) was within her power to institute the charges against Singh and Brassington.
According to the Solicitor General, lawyers of the former high ranking government officials cannot establish any malfeasance that they acted in bad faith or any exceptional circumstances or that the charges are bad in law.
“The charge (Misconduct in Public Office) is a very good charge in law and is provided for under the Laws of Guyana,” the Solicitor General emphasized.
The former government officials are not due to return to Court until June 5th.