The police have finished their investigations into Finance Minister, Dr Ashni Singh’s car accident on Republic night and will be forwarding the case to the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) today.
Superintendent Eon Moore told Stabroek News yesterday that it will be up to the DPP to make a recommendation on any charges.
Stabroek News has also learnt that the driver of the other vehicle and his passenger, Jageshwar Hira and Parbattie Shivcharan respectively, were compensated by the minister, however they signed a non-disclosure agreement with Singh and his legal counsel, Attorney General Anil Nandlall.
Superintendent Moore relayed to this publication that Hira did speak with the police afterwards but that regardless of whether compensation was provided the police would still be investigating any criminal aspects of the incident.
Head of the Guyana Bar Association, Ronald Burch-Smith, had told Stabroek News last week that “the danger is generally that when somebody is offering compensation before the matter reaches to court or while it is in court, very often they have an expectation that as a result of that compensation the injured party will forgo a prosecution.”
He had called the sluggish manner in which the investigation was being done incredibly telling of the police’s deficiencies in investigating persons of standing within society.
Meanwhile, Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee, told Stabroek News yesterday that he was not aware of any special protocol to be followed when ministers of the government or other senior officials are involved in any legal matters. Crime Chief Seelall Persaud had cited a special protocol in relation to these cases.
Rohee said of the alleged protocol “I don’t have it, I have never heard of it”. He did however continue that if the Crime Chief has gone on record stating that there has always been a protocol whenever high ranking government officials are involved in car accidents or there is a threat to security, then the crime chief must be given the benefit of the doubt.
The home affairs minister stated that it was Persaud who would need to produce such a document or explain the origins as the home affairs ministry is not aware of any such protocol.
Calls to Persaud’s office proved futile yesterday.
On Republic night, Singh was involved in a car accident which left Hira and Shivcharan slightly injured. They had reported that Singh seemed under the influence of alcohol. Singh left the scene of the accident shortly after and the police never sought to have a breathalyser test administered.
The attorney general represented Singh when he released a statement saying that the finance minister was not intoxicated and left the scene to seek medical attention.
“I was coming down this street [west on Garnett Street, Campbellville] and this vehicle was coming out of this road [Delph Avenue] and just jump the major road, slam into me sending we into that gutter… The man come out then we see is the finance minister but he ain’t even offer help. He just jump into another vehicle and drive off leaving we hay …,” Hira had told Stabroek News at the scene.
The AG in a statement on February 27, said that “At or about 21:00 hours on 23rd February, 2014 at the junction of Garnett and Delph Streets, Campbell-ville, Greater Georgetown, the Honourable Minister of Finance was involved in a vehicular collision with a motor car.
“The Minister was taken to a city hospital for medical attention shortly after the accident. An associate of the Minister facilitated the driver of the vehicle and the lone passenger to be taken to a city hospital for medical treatment.
“The matter was duly reported to the police and is being investigated.
“Without prejudice to the rights of all the parties to seek legal recourse, the Attorney General met with the driver, the owner of the vehicle and the passenger with a view of exploring the possibility of bringing the matter to an amicable end.”