Attorney Anil Nandlall was yesterday denied his request to stay the Magistrate’s Court from proceeding with charges of alleged misconduct in public office against former Minister of Finance, Dr Ashni Singh and former Head of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), Winston Brassington.
Nandlall, the former Attorney General, made the oral application on behalf of his clients before Justice Franklyn Holder in the High Court for the proceedings to be stayed until the determination of his challenge to the actual charges laid against them.
In that substantive matter before acting Chief Justice Roxane George, Nandlall is challenging the “legality and validity” of the charges.
Nandlall had been hoping to be granted the interim order staying Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan from proceeding with the matter.
After hearing arguments from attorneys for both the applicants and state, however, the judge noted during the more than one hour in-chamber hearing that the interim stay application would be refused.
Speaking with reporters after the hearing, Solicitor General Kim Kyte explained that in light of the judge’s decision, the case before the Magistrate Court will not be halted.
Those matters are set to continue before the Chief Magistrate on May 7.
The application had been made by attorney Nandlall, in association with Stanley Moore, Sase Gunraj, Ronald Burch-Smith and Mark Waldron.
The state, meanwhile, was represented by Kyte, in association with attorneys Judy Stuart-Adonis, Oneka Archer-Caulder and Teshanna James-Lake.
Singh and Brassington who are both out of the jurisdiction have been arraigned in their absence.
They were jointly charged with three counts of misconduct in public office over the sale of three tracts of government land on the East Coast of Demerara, between December, 2008 and May, 2011.
In one instance, it is alleged that the property was sold below market value, while in the other two the deals went ahead without proper valuations of the land.
The charges stem from criminal investigations conducted by SOCU into the findings of a forensic audit of NICIL.
It is alleged that Singh and Brassington sold a tract of land, being 4.7 acres at Plantation Liliendaal, East Coast Demerara, which was the property of Guyana, for the sum of $150 million to Scady Business Corpora-tion, while knowing that the property was valued at $340 million by Rodrigues Architects Limited.
It is also alleged that by way of agreement of sale and purchase, they acted recklessly when they sold a tract of land, which was a portion of Plantation Liliendaal, Pattensen and Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara, being 103.88 acres, to National Hardware Guyana Limited for $598,659,398 (VAT exclusive), without having a valuation of the property from a competent valuation officer.
It was also alleged that they acted recklessly when they sold a 10-acre tract of land at Plantation Turkeyen, which was the property of Guyana, for the sum of $185,037,000 to Multicinemas Guyana Inc, without procuring a valuation of the said property from a competent valuation officer.