CHIEF Magistrate Ann McLennan has set October 11 for full disclosure of the statements and evidence which will be used in the trial against former Region Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo; PNC/R Chairperson, Volda Lawrence; Coalition political activist, Carol Joseph-Smith and four others for electoral fraud.
Mingo, Lawrence, and Joseph are before the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts, along with Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) employees Sherfern February, Enrique Livan, Denise Bobb-Cummings and Michelle Miller for defrauding the electors of Guyana by declaring a false account of votes for the elections.
Holding for the State in this matter is a team of special prosecutors, namely, Attorneys-at-law Darshan Ramdhani, QC, Glenn Hanoman, Mark Conway, Ganesh Hira, Arudranauth Gossai, and George Thomas. The defendants are represented by attorneys-at-law Nigel Hughes, Eusi Anderson, Roynald Daniles and Konyo Sandiford.
During his address to the court, Ramdhani said he had three out of the nine bundles of Statements of Polls (SoPs) and Statements of Recount (SoRs), along with video evidence at hand for disclosure. He explained that some of the pages in the remaining six bundles which comprised thousands of photocopied pages were indecipherable.
“We do not wish to give anyone any documents that are indecipherable,” Ramdhani said as he asked the court for more time to get the said documents in order.
The Chief Magistrate granted Ramdhani’s request and asked that the voluminous documents be filed in proper index method since it would aid in less hiccups and a speedy trial.
Mingo, Lawrence and Joseph are before the court on two counts of fraud, the first of which alleged that on March 5, 2020, with intent to defraud, Lawrence and Mingo uttered a report purporting to be a true declaration of all votes cast in District Four (Demerara-Mahaica) for the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections, knowing the same to be forged.
It is further alleged that on March 13, 2020, Mingo and Joseph uttered a forged document purporting to be a true report of all votes cast in the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections, knowing that said report was forged. It is also alleged that on the said date, Joseph conspired with Mingo and others to declare a fraudulent count of votes for District Four.
Just recently, Mingo, along with Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield and his deputy, Roxanne Myers, had their employment terminated by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM).
The trio is each on $100,000 bail for allegedly conspiring with one another to defraud electors during the course of the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections. It is alleged that the trio, between March 2 and August 2, 2020, at Georgetown, conspired with each other, together with Volda Lawrence, Carol Smith-Joseph, Sherfern February, Enrique Livan, Denise Bobb- Cummings, Michelle Miller and others to defraud the electors of Guyana by declaring a false account of votes for the elections.
They and their alleged co-conspirators are currently before the court on several other charges pertaining to electoral fraud, and misconduct in public office which were all reportedly committed during the course of the March 2, 2020 elections. They are all accused of inflating the results of Region Four, the country’s largest voting district, to give the APNU+AFC Coalition a majority win at the polls when, in fact, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) had won by 15,000 votes.
This dispute resulted in several legal challenges which ended up before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), Guyana’s highest appeal court, and a five-month delay in the declaration of the results. A lengthy recount of the votes eventually declared victory in favour of the PPP/C, and Dr. Irfaan Ali was sworn in as the President of Guyana.