Legal Affairs Minister and Attorney General, Basil Williams on Monday disclosed that five Special Prosecutors were hired and from January 2017 to March 2018, they have handled some 12 cases.
“It should be noted that Agreement signed by the Special Prosecutors is dated June 7, 2017. Therefore, there would be no cases assigned before that date,” Williams said by way of written response.
The disclosure was made in the National Assembly, following questions posed by former Attorney General and Opposition Member, Anil Nandlall.
Moreover, Williams explained that the benefits for the Special Prosecutors included a retainer fee of two million dollars, to be applied to Attorney fees, and costs incurred by the Client, or expenses paid by the said Attorney on behalf of the Client.
Additionally, the Attorneys also benefited from $20,000 per hour for legal services rendered in prosecuting matters in court on behalf of the state.
Williams also mentioned in his written response that no travel and hotel costs have been incurred for the same period.
Prior to this most recent sitting at the National Assembly, Nandlall indicated his intention to scrutinize Government’s hiring of Special Prosecutors- a move which he has deemed unlawful.
According to the Nandlall, Williams in response to questions during the Estimates of the Annual Budget Debates for the years 2017 and 2018, informed the House that $109M was allocated in sub-head 6284 under programme 523 Attorney General’s Chamber in the 2017 Budget and that in the same sub-head and programme in the 2018 Budget undisclosed funds were also allocated for the hiring of Special Prosecutors, including foreign lawyers.
As such, he requested that the Attorney General provide the House with information on the number of Special Prosecutors that have been hired, their salaries and benefits, travel and hotel costs, incurred, and the number of cases they are/have been handling for the period January, 2017 – March, 2018.