SENIOR Magistrate Leron Daly has set April 11, 2023 for trial against former Finance Minister Winston Jordan, who is accused of misconduct in public office.
According to a statement from the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU), Jordan’s lawyers had contested that their client was not a ‘Public Officer.’
The former Finance Minister is represented by fellow APNU coalition party members, attorneys-at-law Roysdale Forde S.C., Khemraj Ramjattan, Dawn Cush, Joseph Harmon, and Darren Wade.
However, the prosecution had previously submitted that Chief Justice Roxanne George addressed the precedent in the case of Winston Brassington and Dr Ashni Singh V.S, the Chief Magistrate.
In that case, Dr. Singh, who was also a Finance Minister, was considered to be a Public Officer and Article 232 of the constitution of Guyana provides that a ‘Public Officer’ means the holder of any public office and includes any person appointed to act in such an office, inter alia.
On Thursday, Magistrate Daly reserved her ruling on the issue and will move forward with the case.
This prompted Cush to inform the court that the defence would be challenging Daly’s decision to the High Court.
Magistrate Daly adjourned the case until April 11, 2023 for trial.
Jordan is currently on $3 million bail.
Winston Jordan 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 willfully misconducted himself by acting recklessly when he signed the 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.