Commissioner of Police Leroy Brumell yesterday said that the police investigation into Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh’s accident on Mashramani night has been finished and the file sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for recommendation.
He told Stabroek News yesterday that the file was sent last week and that it is now up to the DPP to make a recommendation.
Some observers have criticised the police for the length of time taken with the probe.
Witnesses on the scene including the driver and passenger in the car that Singh hit are on record as stating that Singh appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. However, he was never administered a breathalyser test as he left the scene of the accident soon after, also failing to render assistance to the other persons in the accident.
How the police handled the investigation has also been subject to much criticism especially after Crime Chief Seelall Persaud stated that the police were operating under a “longstanding tradition” in how they proceed with investigations involving high-ranking government officials.
After the crime chief spoke on the matter, members of the political opposition as well as members of the legal community called on the home affairs ministry as well as the crime chief to explain what this was as it reeked of special treatment for high-ranking government officials when there should be none.
Stabroek News had spoken with Ronald Burch-Smith, Head of the Guyana Bar Association who had said that Guyana seemingly operated contrary to other countries which would hold members of public office to a higher standard.
On Republic night the finance minister was involved in a car accident at Delph Avenue and Garnett Street. He was picked up almost immediately by a ministry of agriculture vehicle and failed to exchange information with the other parties involved in the accident, Jageshwar Hira and Parbattie Shivcharan.
“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.
Businessman Brian Yong had gone to the scene and offered the driver compensation for his vehicle and to pay for medical bills incurred.
The case attracted more scrutiny when it was revealed that the Attorney General Anil Nandlall was to be Singh’s legal counsel. Nandlall later concluded a compensation deal with Hira and Shivcharan on Singh’s behalf.
APNU Member of Parliament Winston Felix had tried to raise the issue during a sitting of the National Assembly on February 27 but was not allowed by the Speaker. Critics and members of the opposition including APNU’s Joseph Harmon have stated that even in his private capacity the finance minister is a public figure but to have the attorney general represent him was unacceptable.
The attorney general told Stabroek News that he represents all members of the government and that Singh did not stop being the finance minister on weekends or after work hours. Nandlall had also said that Singh had left the scene to seek medical treatment.