PRINCIPAL MAGISTRATE, Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus, on Thursday, recused herself from presiding over the trial of former Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, who is accused of misconduct in public office.
The Magistrate made this announcement during a case hearing at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court. Jordan is currently on $3 million bail.
On April 29, Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan had recused herself from the case since she knew some of the lawyers involved in the matter.
The case was then transferred to Principal Magistrate Isaacs-Marcus who made a similar position.
On Thursday, when the matter was called at court, Principal Magistrate Isaacs-Marcus informed the parties that she will also be recusing herself from presiding over the case.
She then transferred the case back to the Chief Magistrate for reassignment. The case will be brought up again on June 2.
The former Finance Minister is represented by fellow coalition party members, attorneys-at-law, Roysdale Forde S.C., Khemraj Ramjattan, Dawn Cush, Joseph Harmon, and Darren Wade.
Previously, Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) prosecutor, Tuanna Hardy, requested the accused be tried summarily in the Magistrates’ Court.
However, Jordan’s lawyers raised strong objections, emphasising their preference for a trial by jury in the High Court.
If this were to happen, the matter heard in the Magistrates’ Court would be the subject of a Preliminary Inquiry (PI).
Once the magistrate finds that a case has been made, it would then be referred to the High Court for trial by a judge and jury.
Jordan’s lawyers have not made their submissions as yet.
Winston Jordan first appeared in court to respond to this matter on December 28, 2021. He was not required to plead.
It was alleged then that while he served as Finance Minister under the APNU+AFC coalition government, Jordan wilfully misconducted himself by acting recklessly when he signed NICIL (Transfer of Property) Order, No. 50 of 2020.
NICIL, the government’s privatisation unit, fell under Jordan’s ministerial portfolio.
The substantive matter was Jordan’s transferring to and vesting to BK Marine Inc., all buildings, erections, stellings, platforms and further appurtenances, at Mud Lots One and Two, F of Mud Lot Three, A, B & D, being over 2.553 acres.
In that transaction, it was reported that $20,260,276 was paid for a property initially valued at over $5,000,000,000. The selling price was reportedly grossly below the actual value of the assets sold.
This, the court heard from the prosecution, amounted to an abuse of the public’s trust without reasonable excuse or justification.