Suing gov’t over failure to pay lotto funds into Consolidated Fund a correct step -Carberry

The PNCR says it is fully in support of the legal proceedings instituted against the government by WPA member Desmond Trotman, over the administration’s failure to pay over funds obtained from the Guyana Lottery Company into the Consolidated Fund.

Lance Carberry, the PNCR-1G Chief Parliamentary Whip, said Friday that the party agreed with Trotman’s move, calling it a correct step. Trotman, last week, sued the government, saying that the practice, which included disbursements without parliamentary approval, is illegal. He is seeking several declarations from the court, including a declaration that government’s action (over the past years) with respect to the lottery funds has been unconstitutional and illegal.

In court papers filed by his attorneys, Christopher Ram and Miles Fitzpatrick SC, Trotman pointed to the authorities, citing Article 126 of the Constitution and sections 21 and 38 of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act 2003.

Asked why the PNCR had not itself instituted such legal proceedings against the government, Carberry pointed to the sloth of the current legal system. He said that the party has sought redress in the courts over several matters, many of which have been dragging on for years in the court.  Carberry cited the PNCR Leader Robert Corbin’s challenge as to the constitutionality of the Integrity Commission as one such example. Carberry also said that the society needed to realise that legal action against the government is not only for political parties. He said that such action could also be pursued by civil society and groups.

The 2008 Auditor General report noted that over a thirteen year period, the government has spent over $3 billion of the proceeds acquired from the Guyana Lotteries Company without parliamentary consent, since money was never deposited into the Consolidated Fund as legally required. According to the report, from 1996 to 2008 “amounts totalling $3.283 billion were received from the Guyana Lotteries Company. At the end of 2008, the balance on this account was $186.508 million,” which suggests that the government has so far spent $3.097 billion of the money received during the period in question.

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