The charges against former Minister of Housing, Irfaan Ali do not amount to an offence and should be quashed. This is the argument being put forward by Ali’s lawyers in the High Court.

It is alleged that Ali, between 2011 and 2015, conspired with persons unknown to defraud the Government of Guyana by acting recklessly when he sold 19 plots of land at Plantation Sparendaam and Goedverwagting.

The 38-year-old, was not required to make a plea to any of the 19 indictable charges brought against him last year. He was released on self bail by the Chief Magistrate.

In a Fix Date Application (FDA) filed earlier this month, Senior Counsel Neil Boston, among other lawyers, are petitioning the Court for it to grant several declarations and orders.

Ali, through his legal representatives, is seeking an Order of Certiorari quashing the decision of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to charge him with the offence of Conspiracy to Defraud.

Among other things, Ali’s lawyers are arguing that the decision of the DPP is irrational, arbitrary, capricious, whimsical, malicious, biased, without any proper evidential basis, unreasonable, unlawful, null, void and without no effect.

The lawyers are asking the Court for an interim order restraining the Chief Magistrate or any other Magistrate from hearing or attempting to determine the matters pending the hearing and determination of the application before the High Court.

Furthermore, the Applicant is asking the Court to declare that the charges do not allege any underlying unlawful conduct, contravenes Article 144 (4) of the Constitution of Guyana.

The former Housing Minister is also asking the Court to award damages at an amount determined by the court but not less than $100,000.

The FDA comes up for hearing on Friday, January 11, 2019 before Justice Franklin Holder at the High Court in Georgetown.

Ali is accused of selling the lands to former President Bharrat Jagdeo, Cabinet Secretary Dr. Roger Luncheon; former ministers Priya Manickchand, Dr. Jennifer Westford, Robert Persaud and Clement Rohee, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack and former army Head Gary Best.

He also sold the lands to former General Manager of the Guyana Gold Board who is the daughter of former President Donald Ramotar, Lisaveta Ramotar.

Former President of the Private Sector Commission, Ramesh Dookhoo, son of former Labour Minister Dr. Nanda Gopaul, Dr. Ghansham Singh, former Guyana Sugar Corporation (GuySuCo) Chief Executive Officer, Rajendra Singh; former President of the the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Guyana, Compton Bourne, Andrew Bishop, former Chief Executive Officer of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission; Safraaz Khan and George Halla were also sold plots of land.

The charges against Ali come months after SOCU completed its investigation into the allocation of lands at ‘Pradoville Two’ to Cabinet members of the People’s Progressive Party/ Civic Administration and their close associates.

It was reported that Ali personally handled the transactions of the State Lands to his friends of the PPP/C’s former Cabinet members.

A forensic audit was conducted which revealed that the recipients grossly underpaid for the lots by a total of nearly $250 million. It was stated that of the 28 lots, totalling 12.1187 acres, only 3.9693 acres remain unallocated.


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