Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo on Thursday, filed an affidavit in the High Court asking for his release from police custody.
Mingo’s wife, Waveney, in an affidavit, contends that “I am advised by our Attorneys-at-Law and verily believe the same to be true that the police are in breach of the applicant’s fundamental right to his liberty…that the applicant has been detained without lawful excuse and in violation of his constitutional rights.”
The writ of habeas corpus was served on Police Commissioner Nigel Hoppie. It comes up for hearing today at 13:30hrs before Justice Brassington Reynolds.
The affidavit added that the arrest and continued detention of Mingo is unlawful, unconstitutional, and is an abuse of power. Besides, she is arguing that unless the Commissioner of Police is directed to forthwith release Mingo, he will suffer gross violations of his guaranteed and protected constitutional rights for a protracted period of time.
On August 25, 2020, Mingo was arrested and taken to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) for questioning concerning electoral fraud.
Mingo, the Guyana Elections Commission’s Returning Officer for Region Four, has been accused of attempting to alter the March 2 elections results in favour of the APNU/AFC Coalition.
The Police Force, a few days ago, announced that it was investigating alleged criminal conduct by Mingo along with others, including Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield, who is also currently facing private criminal fraud charges before the courts.
Mingo’s attempts to alter the results of the elections led to the national recount exercise, which ultimately proved the significant differences in the figures being called by the RO compared to the actual numbers of votes cast.
Following his arrest, four of his assistants were picked up shortly after and are currently in police custody.
On March 2, the original counting of the ballots cast had proceeded smoothly and had been completed in nine (9) regions with the PPP/C in a major lead.
But the tabulation of Statements of Poll (SoPs) was interrupted in District Four (Demerara-Mahaica) after Mingo switched from the legal procedure – which ensures transparency – whereby each SoP had to be exhibited to the stakeholders present to enable comparison to their copies.
However, Mingo diverted to a procedure where the purported numbers from the SoPs were incorporated into a consolidated spreadsheet. This led to immediate calls for transparency from both local and international observers.
This led to the High Court case when all the parties excepting APNU/AFC protested the sleight of hand that facilitated an inflation of the party’s votes.
Following the High Court’s decision, Mingo was ordered to revert to the prescribed procedure, but he repeated his subterfuge in another guise and submitted totals that varied substantially from those of other parties and had the APNU/AFC ahead rather than the PPP/C.
The Chairwoman of GECOM, Retired Justice Claudette Singh, agreed to a recount of the votes, which had been proposed by Granger and approved by Bharrat Jagdeo after an intervention by several Caricom leaders.