Chief Magistrate orders prosecution to present “proper order” in Mingo’s case

Clairmont Mingo
Clairmont Mingo

As the court makes final preparations to begin the trial of embattled Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo, who has been slapped with several charges for misconduct in public office concerning the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections, the prosecution was instructed to make certain corrections to their order or decree.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has hired a five-member team of special prosecutors to prosecute the electoral fraud cases against Mingo; Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield along with his clerks, Denise Bob-Cummings and Michelle Miller; GECOM Elections Officer Shefern February and Information Technology Officer Enrique Livan; APNU/AFC activist Carol Joseph and Chairperson of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) and former Health Minister Volda Lawrence.

The fiat has been granted to Attorneys-at-Law Glenn Hanoman, Mark Conway, Ganesh Hira, Arudranauth Gossai, and George Thomas to prosecute them on behalf of the State.

According to Attorney-at-Law Ronald Daniels, one of the lawyers representing Mingo, the prosecution was instructed to lay over the “proper fiat” on December 21, 2020.

The lawyer explained that the fiat that was previously presented was not drafted in a manner satisfactory to the court. He further explained that the fiat did not capture the respective matters according to their case jacket numbers.

Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan, who is presiding over the matters, has requested that the order be corrected to include the missing information.

The first two charges against Mingo alleged that on March 5, 2020, at the Office of the Returning Officer of District Four at High and Hadfield Streets, Georgetown, while being a public officer, he wilfully misconducted himself by declaring a result for District Four, without ascertaining the total votes cast in favour of each list in the said District.

The last two charges alleged that Mingo committed the same offence, this time round on March 13, 2020, at GECOM’s High and Cowan Streets, Kingston, Georgetown Head Office, when he wilfully misconducted himself by declaring a result for District Four in the Regional Elections of March 2, 2020.

He was ordered to post bail of $600,000.

It is alleged that Mingo used a spreadsheet containing inflated figures to declare the results for Region Four – the largest voting district, which listed the total number of valid votes for all lists as 217,425 for which APNU/AFC received 136,057 votes and the PPP/C 77,231 votes.

The declaration made by Mingo, which was subsequently set aside by Chief Justice Roxane George, was signed by Lawrence – the lone representation of the political parties that contested the elections.

The other parties had objected to the declaration after the verification process was not fully complied with by Mingo. Even the election observation missions both local and international had also rejected the declaration, saying that the results lacked credibility and transparency.

In actuality, the results of the National Recount which was supervised by the high-level Caricom team found that there was a total of 202,077 ballots cast in Region Four, with 116,941 for APNU/AFC and 80,920 for PPP/C.

As it relates to the overall elections, the gazetted results show that 460,352 valid votes were cast, with 233,336 for the PPP/C and 217,920 for APNU/AFC.