Superintendent of Police Eon Moore said yesterday that investigations are ongoing into what exactly transpired when Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh crashed his vehicle into another on Republic night.
Moore told Stabroek News that a file was still being compiled of all the evidence collected, including statements from all three parties involved in the crash – the minister and the driver and passenger of the other vehicle, Jageshwar Hira and Parbattie Shivcharan respectively.
Moore said the police were conducting their own investigation into the matter including whether or not Singh was under the influence at the time of the accident and if he broke any laws by fleeing the scene. He told Stabroek News, “We are conducting our own investigation the file should be ready next week. I cannot speak for any other agencies.”
He continued that because the protocol was different where high ranking government officials were concerned, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) would also need to make a recommendation if charges were to be filed.
He said that thus far Singh, through his lawyer, had made it known that he left the scene to seek medical attention. Moore said it was within his rights to do so.
He reiterated Traffic Chief Hugh Denhert’s previous position that persons are given up to 24 hours to report an accident at the police station of their choosing. Meanwhile Denhert told Stabroek News that since the police were still investigating the matter he has not seen any reports as yet.
Attempts to contact the DPP were unsuccessful.
Previously Crime Chief Seelall Persaud had outlined that the DPP was contacted for advice in all situations which involve high ranking government officials. Persaud denied that the tradition of consulting the DPP was to ultimately avoid police responsibility in applying charges.
Attorney General Anil Nandlall, who is Singh’s lawyer, told Stabroek News that the matter was being handled in the manner that it should. In a statement released last week Nandlall said that Singh did report the accident within the 24-hour period, but could not specify when exactly this occurred. He said Singh did not fail to submit himself to a breathalyser, since when police finally arrived on the scene Singh was seeking medical attention.
Nandlall said allegations that the finance minister was intoxicated at the time of the accident were false.
Nandlall had met the other two parties involved in the incident to work out a settlement agreement. He noted that his goal was to ensure a settlement that would be conducive to a court ordered settlement and as a result the $3 million each being sought by the Hira and Shivcharan would need to be discussed further.
On Republic night, Singh was involved in an accident on Delph Avenue and Garnett Street where he left the scene prior to police arriving. Hira and his passenger had stated that Singh appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and he was picked up minutes after the crash by an Agriculture Ministry vehicle.
Meanwhile, the opposition is calling on the investigation to consider whether Singh could be charged with failing to render assistance.
The opposition has stated that Nandlall’s legal representation of the finance minister may not be ethically sound and APNU has noted that the entire incident has been handled poorly.