…says no known legal requirement that allegation must first be reported to Police and advice of the DPP sought
The Director of Public Prosecutions’ (DPP’s) [Shalimar Ali-Hack] discontinuation of the case made out against Government Ministers by members of the Opposition has shown that she has “clearly been influenced by extraneous and irrelevant considerations, has acted ultra-vires and unconstitutionally by ascribing to her office, a functional responsibility with which it is not endowed.”
This is according to former Attorney General, Anil Nandlall via a press statement on Monday afternoon.
According to Nandlall, the DPP’s provided reason for the discontinuation of the case – in which it was stated “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”- must be a “fresh and new jurisprudence.”
He elaborated that nowhere in Article 187 of the Constitution which sets out the functions of the DPP does it confer powers for “good governance in the State of Guyana”.
Article 187. (1) outlines that “The Director of Public Prosecutions shall have the power in any case in which he or she considers it desirable to do so (a) to institute and undertake criminal proceedings against any person before any court, other than a court- martial, in respect of any offence against the law of Guyana. (b) to take over and continue any such criminal proceedings that may have been instituted by any other person or authority; and (c) to discontinue at any stage before judgment is delivered any such criminal proceedings instituted or undertaken by him or her or any other person or authority.”
“You will note that the term ‘good governance’ appears nowhere in these functional responsibilities. This must be the first and only DPP office in the English speaking Commonwealth that views itself as being responsible for ‘good governance’ within a State,” he asserted.
Nandlall made reference to two years ago, when Christopher Ram instituted private criminal charges against former President, Dr Bharrat Jagdeo highlighting that that matter was neither reported nor investigated by the Police but that charge was never “discontinued by the DPP.”
Nevertheless, he posited that “the institution of private criminal charges have been part of our criminal jurisprudence for over a century. It was always initiated by a private individual without the involvement of the Police and the DPP.”
According to him, “there is absolutely no known legal requirement that the allegation must first be reported to the Police and the advice of the DPP sought. In fact, in many instances, it is the failure of the Guyana Police Force to act or to act professionally that leads to the evolution and practice of private criminal charges.
“The position adopted by the DPP on this occasion will retard the advancement of our criminal jurisprudence and stultify the right and freedom of the citizen to institute and prosecute a private criminal charge without the involvement of the State.”
Furthermore, he maintained that the DPP’s discontinuance of the charges against the two Ministers and her apparent refusal to do likewise in relation to the cases made out against Former Finance Minister, Ashni Singh and former CEO of NICIL, Winston Brassington “smacks of discrimination and inequality before the law.”
On April 12 2018, Government instituted legal proceedings against Singh and Brassington for what it says is “misconduct in public office: contrary to common law” as it pertains to the sale of three plots of state land.
In return, Nandlall on behalf of PPP MPs, took to the court to have Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence and former Minister of Public Health, George Norton charged for the same offence.
The charges were with regards to the sole sourcing of drugs and other pharmaceuticals for the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation from privately owned, Ansa McAll Trading Limited and the rental of a house in Sussex Street, Albouystown, Georgetown to be utilized as a drug bond at a cost of $12M monthly, respectively.
Attorney General, Basil Williams had then written the DPP to have the charges laid by Nandlall reviewed, calling for its discontinuation.
The former Attorney General had also done the same with regards to Singh and Brassington but the DPP never responded.