Slap to our independence

first_imgDear Editor,I have, with disdain, listened to the frivolous mantra about the corruption perpetrated by the previous PPP/C Government, and felt that, with the countless Commissions of Inquiry and the millions in taxpayers’ dollars spent, SOCU would have presented unequivocal evidence to prosecute the alleged PPP criminals in our courts of law.However, from a little research done, I have found that it is the consensus of legal opinion that the common law offence of gross misconduct in public office “should be strictly confined; it can raise complex and sometimes sensitive issues”.Furthermore, it is stated that if there is clear evidence of one or more statutory offences, they should usually form the basis of the case. In other words, ‘there is no suitable statutory offence for a piece of serious misconduct…’In formulating our FMA Act, our Parliamentarians cannot be deemed not to be aware of the existence of this common law offence, but they have legislated laws which adequately cover the offences which can be committed by public officers, and for which they must be held legally accountable. They knew that the common law offence of ‘gross misconduct in public office’ has no place in our legal system!Therefore, I will contend that the abuse of judicial process is glaringly evident in the case against Dr Ashni Singh and Winston Brassington. The Financial Management and Accountability Act, Section 85, states that an official who— (a) falsifies any account, statement, receipt, or other record issued or kept for the purposes of this Act, the Regulations, the Finance Circulars or any other instrument made under this Act; (b) conspires or colludes with any other person to defraud the State or makes opportunity for any person to defraud the State; or (c) knowingly permits any other person to contravene any provision of this Act, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable on conviction to a fine of two million dollars and to imprisonment for three years.Both Dr Ashni Singh and Mr Brassington were public officials at the time, and the Act makes provisions for offences committed during their tenure as public officials. Section (b) of the Act makes it clear that evidence must be submitted to prove that these officials “conspired or colluded with any other person to defraud the State or make opportunity for any person to defraud the State”. But did SOCU, after three (3) years of in-depth investigation, come up with any such evidence? The answer is a resounding no. These gentlemen acted within the FMA Act, and with the approval of Cabinet, which is chaired by no other than the President himself. Furthermore, the john public would like to know that these public officials sold the land and corruptly benefited from the deals, not that they have failed to adhere to some procedures!SOCU has decided to carry out its political dictates by pulling the most spurious and vexatious charge it can find, not from the Laws of Guyana, but from the English Common Law. So much for being an independent nation for 50 years! Shame and disgrace!Yours sincerely,Haseef YusufRDC Councillor,Region 6last_img read more