AFC welcomes Speaker’s ruling on Finance Minister

The Alliance For Change (AFC) yesterday welcomed the ruling by Speaker of the National Assembly, Raphael Trotman that a prima facie case of wrong doing has been made out against Minister of Finance, Dr. Ashni Singh over his spending of $4.5B.

As a result of the Thursday ruling, Singh has been referred to Parliament’s Privileges Committee.

In a statement read by MP Moses Nagamootoo at a press conference, the AFC said that the Speaker rightly ruled that the spending by the Finance Minister has raised sufficiently serious questions of privilege for a probe by the Privileges Committee of the National Assembly.

The statement said that the Committee of Privileges is like a quasi court.

“AFC notes that in India, considered the world’s single largest democracy, this Committee could recommend imprisonment and expulsion of an unruly Member of Parliament, in spite of the member being a Minister of Government”, the statement said.

This is the second attempt by the combined opposition to have the Finance Minister censured before the Committee of Privileges. The AFC said that the first motion is in flux and could be discontinued now that the second complaint has been referred to the Committee.

The motion moved by A Partnership for National Unity MP Carl Greenidge, and seconded by AFC Leader Khemraj Ramjattan, forms part of a series of measures against the “unlawful and unconstitutional spending of monies from the Consolidated Fund by the minority PPP/C government without the approval of the National Assembly, and in violation of the decision of the Assembly”. The AFC added that the illegal spending has now triggered a constitutional crisis, which has resulted in the AFC alerting President Donald Ramotar of its intention to move a vote of no confidence in his government.

Another measure was the laying of a formal complaint by Ramjattan to the Commissioner of Police for possible criminal charges against Singh over the expenditure.

The AFC noted that the combined opposition is still working on legal proceedings to be filed in court to block the government from further unlawful spending.

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