DPP dismisses 2nd set of charges against Govt Ministers

first_imgThe Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has again dismissed ‘misconduct’ charges brought against three more Government Ministers by the PPP Opposition, this time over the controversial D’Urban Park Project.The private criminal charges were filed on Monday against Finance Minister Winston Jordan, Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson, and Public Service Minister Dr Rupert Roopnaraine by former Attorney General Anil Nandlall as the Attorney, and Opposition Member of Parliament (MP) Juan Edghill as an applicant.The charges against the ministers alleged a breach of the Procurement Act in relation to the expenditure of $906 million in public funds to a private company, Homestretch Development Inc, for construction of the controversial D’Urban Park Project, which has, for some time now, been a contentious issue.Jordan and Patterson were jointly charged with misconduct and abuse of public trust for having allegedly authorised the payment, while Dr Roopnaraine, who was a director of the company, was charged with alleged misconduct and the abuse of public trust for having received, in his capacity as director, the $906 million in public funds while serving as minister. However, the DPP’s Chambers said in a statement issued late Thursday afternoon that the private criminal charges against Ministers Jordon, Patterson and Roopnaraine, for misconduct in public office, contrary to the Common Law, were discontinued by the Director of Public Prosecutions under Article 187 (1) ( c) of the Constitution.“These charges concern a grave issue under the criminal law in relation to (three) serving ministers. In the interest of good governance in the State of Guyana, such allegations ought first to have been reported to the Guyana Police Force for an investigation to be launched and the advice of the DPP sought,” the Chamber said.Confirmation from the DPP’s Office comes following a report published in the state-owned Guyana Chronicle newspaper on Thursday, announcing the dismissals.Meanwhile, Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister, Basil Williams, at a press conference on Thursday, also revealed that he was informed of the dismissal since Wednesday, when his office received a copy of the dismissal order that was sent to the magistrate by the DPP.According to Williams, the DPP, Shalimar Ali-Hack, has a proactive role to patrol the corridors of justice, which she did.“I think the DPP was clear that the charges hadn’t been filtered through any established state investigatory body. They have no evidence; if you have evidence that means you’re supposed to take the evidence to the relevant and appropriate authorities; and those authorities, if they investigate and had a charge, they would have sent it to the DPP for them to look at it,” the AG posited, while hinting at the possibility of impending counter libel action to be taken by the Government ministers.This is the second set of charges filed by the Opposition that the DPP has thrown out, citing the same reasons. On Monday, she also discontinued against Government Ministers Volda Lawrence and Dr George Norton charges that were filed last week respectively over the sole-sourcing of more than $600 million in drugs and other pharmaceuticals for the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, and the rental of a house in Sussex Street, Albouystown, Georgetown to be utilized as a drug bond at a cost of $12 million monthly.last_img read more