The State Asset Recovery Agency (SARA) suffered another blow to its already poor performance record after the High Court threw out one of its cases filed in September last against the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI). The agency claimed that GBTI acquired a property in Kingstown that houses its headquarters for $244M less than its actual value.
The court ruled that GBTI won the case on the grounds that SARA lacked the legal standing for such a matter as it is not a body corporate and more importantly, such a case could only be brought against it by the SARA Director or Deputy, both of whom have not been appointed by Parliament.
Speaking with the Guyana Standard on the ruling, former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall said it proves that every case for SARA will be dead on arrival to the courts.
Nandlall said that the purpose of the law as an institution is to bring public order to society and to protect the basic human rights of the inhabitants of that society. Once a law departs from this objective, he opined that it is bound to fail. On this note, Nandlall posited that the SARA Act was enacted to exact political revenge with the intent of being used to carry out vendettas and persecutions.
The Opposition Minister said, “And it is not surprising to me, therefore, that every case filed under the Act has failed to succeed. I have written profusely about the unconstitutionality of the Act and about the unsuitability of the major office holders appointed under the Act and I predicted that it will not yield success. To this end, I have filed legal proceedings, challenging the unconstitutionality of the Act.”
He added, “I have also filed legal proceedings challenging the illegality which surrounds the appointment of the Director and the Deputy Director of SARA. Those proceedings are still pending in the High Court. It is some of those grounds of challenge by me, in those pending proceedings, I see were used as the basis to dismiss recent legal proceedings filed by SARA against GBTI. So I am not surprised by the ruling.”
Nandlall said that the entire Act should be repealed because, in its present construct, any proceedings filed under it are destined to fail. He noted too that similar legislation was passed in England and it had to be withdrawn.
Now that GBTI has succeeded, the lawyer said the financial institution should file legal proceedings for malicious prosecution. This cause of action is now available in civil law, he added.