Another Former Finance Minister of the PPP/C Administration Arrested, Questioned and Released on Bail

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Nandlall Argues Criminal Legal Process Being Used to Prosecute Political Opponents

GEORGETOWN, GUYANA (CITIZENS REPORT) – On Monday former
Minister of Finance of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) Government,
Mr. Saisnarine Kowlessar, was arrested by the Special Organised Crime
Unit (SOCU) and interrogated.

After being questioned, Kowlessar was released on $200,000 station bail
and requested to return next Monday.

The former Minister was accompanied by one of his lawyers, Mark Conway.

Mr. Kowlessar served as Minister of Finance from 1999 – 2006. Some of
the transactions about which he was questioned took place over 20 years
ago.

Saisnarine Kowlessar

However, former Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Mr. Mohabir
Anil Nanadlall contends that “there is a principle of law which prevents
investigations of certain transactions that took place several years ago, on
the ground that it is unfair and against public policy to do so because of the
lapse of time.”

Nandlall explained: “The rationale is that if persons were to be charged as a
result of those investigations, it would amount to an abuse of process to
subject those persons to a trial because of the lapse of memory, absence of
evidence and absence of witnesses, etc. – all of which will militate against
an accused person having a fair trial which is guaranteed as a constitutional
right because the law recognises that such a person may be unable to
adequately defend himself in the circumstances. Our justice system
protects against such eventuality in preservation of the doctrine of
presumption of innocence.”

Nandlall also put the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on blast. He
stated that it’s the DPP constitutional mandate to protect the citizenry from
these types of investigations and not be the one promoting. “It is
unfortunate that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP)
does not see it as part of its constitutional mandate to protect the citizenry
from these types of investigations, which are widely regarded as abusive
and oppressive, but rather is part of the design that is promoting it.”

The former Attorney General further stated, “It is clear beyond any doubt
that these investigations are driven by a political and vindictive motive.
Ultimately, they are designed to get to the period when Opposition Leader,
Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo, was the Minister of Finance. Constitutional immunities
prevent them from charging him for acts done while he was President.
Recognising this, they intend to go back to two decades to persecute him
for transactions done while he was Minister of Finance.”

According to Nandlall, “While Mr. Jagdeo was Minister of Finance, Dr.
Cheddi Jagan and Janet Jagan were Presidents. So in effect, the new
theory is that both Dr. Cheddi Jagan and Janet Jagan were corrupt and
presided over these corrupt transactions! It is interesting to note that this
period saw the sale of National Bank of Industry and Commerce Limited’s
(NBIC) shares to Republic Bank, the sale of Stock Feeds and Neocal to
Robert Badal, the sale of Guyana Stores Limited to Tony Yassin, etc. All
these transactions are now labelled as corrupt transactions.”

Nandlall stated that he remain confident that the investigations will never go
back to pre 1992, where the PNC Administration sold state assests without
any form of public tender, valuation or even at market value. “What I do
know is that they will stop at October 5, 1992. So they will not investigate
the sale of Guyana Telecommunications Corporation to ATN; they will not
investigate the sale of Demerara Timbers Limited, or the sale of over 7
state-owned rice mills, or the sale of the National Paint Company or the
sale to Carl Greenidge, while he was Minister of Finance, of a property at
Bel-Air Gardens by NICIL – none of which was the subject of any form of
tender and none of which were sold pursuant to any valuation certificates,
or even at market value.”

Nandlall remains convinced that the criminal legal process is being used to
persecute political opponents. – (Story courtesy of citizensreport.com)

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