Former Guyana Government Minister Released on Bail

Volda Lawrence

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Aug 24, CMC – Former Health Minister, Volda Lawrence, was on Monday released on GUY$100,000 on a fraud charge relating to the disputed March 2 regional and general election.

Lawrence, the chair of the main People’s National Congress (PNC), the biggest party in the coalition, A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) that lost the last election, was required to enter a plea to the charge that on March 5, this year, she procured Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo to utter a forged Form 24 to the Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield in an attempt to defraud the State of Guyana.

Mingo, who is also accused of the charge, did not appear in court because he has not been served with a summons.

“This is another set of trumped up charges. I know personally that I have committed no crime. I have done absolutely nothing what I am accused of,” the former health minister said after the court appearance.

She said the charge is aimed at humiliating here but “I am not going down; the truth will prevail.”

The court was told that that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) has taken over the charge based on complaints made to the police.

As a result, Chief Magistrate Ann Mc Lennan adjourned the case to September 11, this year.

Attorney Nigel Hughes, who is leading the defence team for the former minister, said that it is hoped when the matter is resumed the state would be expected to disclose elements of its case to the defence.

Hughes has dismissed the charge brought by attorney Charles Ramson Jr, the Minister of Culture Youth and Sport, saying that the prosecution did not have sufficient evidence at the outset to file the charge but has now instructed the police to conduct a probe.

Hughes said he only learned on the last occasion that a charge against Lawrence had been pending and so he advised her to go to court voluntarily.

Meanwhile, in another development, Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, will return to court on September 11 on charges of misconduct in public office, conspiracy to commit a felony and fraud arising from the elections.

Lowenfield was granted GUY$150,000 on each of the three charges that were filed privately on June 30 by Desmond Morian of the now ruling People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) and Josh Kanhai of the smaller opposition, The New Movement party. – CMC