– says he feels ‘vindicated’
THE simple larceny charge against Attorney General (AG) and Minster of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, in relation to the theft of over $2M worth in law books has been withdrawn, based on instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack.
The charge was officially discontinued, on Friday last, by Senior Magistrate Fabayo Azore, at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
Nandlall was on trial for the charge which alleged that between May 18 and May 29, 2015, while being a bailee in his capacity as Attorney General, he fraudulently converted 14 Commonwealth Law Reports valued at $2,313,853, property of the Ministry of Legal Affairs, to his own use and benefit.
On November 23, 2018, Magistrate Azore had ruled that a prima facie case against Nandlall was established and called on him to lead his defence but he did not.
Nandlall and his lawyers, Sanjeev Datadin and Glenn Hanoman, had moved to the High Court and the Appeal Court to challenge the Magistrate’s decision; they also asked for a judicial review. However in December 2019, the Court of Appeal threw out Nandlall’s application to have the larceny charge quashed.
The ruling was handed down by Chancellor (ag) Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Justices Rishi Persaud and Franklin Holder forcing Nandlall to move to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
Meanwhile, Nandlall told the Department of Public Information (DPI) that he feels “vindicated” by the decision of the DPP.
“That confirms my initial response that that charge was politically motivated and I was politically prosecuted because I was critical of the Attorney General. He told me to my face that if I did not stop criticising him, that I would be charged,” Nandlall was quoted as saying.
The Attorney General said his predecessor Basil Williams continued the charges, although a review by the Auditor General proved that no offence had been committed.
Nandlall said from the moment the law books became an issue, he immediately ordered the very books from LexisNexis and presented them to the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) but they were refused.
The reports were recently handed over to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Legal Affairs.
Over the past few years, Nandlall repeatedly stated that the law books were purchased for him by the State with the approval of former President Donald Ramotar.
Nandlall had explained that the law books were in his possession and he had no intention of returning them to the State. He subsequently secured an order in the High Court, which barred the police from seizing the books.
Nandlall had stated that the books were acquired during his term in office as Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs.
He previously stated that he commenced subscribing to Lexis Nexis (U.K.), publishers of the Commonwealth Law Reports, sometime in 2003, and the arrangement was that the reports were to be shipped to him, along with an invoice.
He noted that, before his appointment as Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, he had requested that, as a condition of his service, the State should stand the related expenses.
After the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) lost the May 2015 elections, Nandlall vacated his office and took the law books with him.