Reflecting on the SOCU charge against former AG Nandlall

first_imgDear Editor,The more I reflect on the charge and the associated happenings of Monday, 24th April, and Thursday 27th, the more I wonder who and what could be driving such ill-conceived, trivial charge against him, for what purpose, and to what end.Former AG Anil Nandlall is charged for taking with him, and not leaving in the AG’s office, a number of law reports which he received as a result of personal subscriptions to the international publishers of professional reports, books and journals — an arrangement which he had in place a decade earlier in his private practice. Lawyer Nandlall had requested from then President Donald Ramotar that this professional subscription be paid by the Government of Guyana as part of his compensation whilst serving as AG. President Ramotar has confirmed that he acceded to this request.When former AG Nandlall was first detained, he was released some hours later after the facts above were attested to presumably to the SOCU officers’ satisfaction. It has been common practice within Governments, their institutions and agencies, and in the private sector that some employees receive, as part of their compensation, the payment of their subscriptions in some professional and trade bodies.I myself, when Director for Product Quality, Research & Development in our bauxite company, had my subscriptions paid for membership in The American Ceramic Society, The American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Engineers and the International Colloquium for the Studies Of Bauxite, Alumina and Aluminium (ICSOBA) which had accompanying monthly journals, annual reports, etc.That afternoon, the matter seemed rightfully to be at an end. Imagine the consternation of many of us on learning on the Thursday (April 27) morning that Anil was again detained, and this time charged essentially for stealing those said “Law Reports”! There seemed to be no question of “station bail”; uncertainties about when he would be put before the court; and concerns that he may be detained over the holiday weekend to Tuesday morning. Thankfully, with assistance from an unexpected quarter in approaches to the top of our Judiciary, it was arranged for him to be taken before a magistrate that afternoon, where he was released on his own recognizance.Whatever the outcome of these charges, recognising that the price of these “Law Reports” is only about $500,000; that unto now there appears to be no dispute of facts; that former AG has followed a practice that is quite common; and acknowledging that a Court may yet find flaws in a practice that is common, was this the way to proceed? Was this a matter for SOCU? How do the officers of our SOCU and sincere advocates of SOCU feel about this matter? And how do members of our Judiciary and Magistracy feel?Yes, my questioning has been largely rhetorical. We all know that, over the last two years, our Coalition Government has been investing much too much of our country’s and people’s resources of money, time and goodwill in pursuing their preposterous election campaigning allegations of “hundreds of billions of Guyana dollars in annual corruption and thieving in our (PPP/C) time”. Looks like they began to believe their preposterous campaigning allegations when, as their first order of business, they gave themselves those hefty salary raises. But it seems, too, that they soon wised up, finding not enough money to pay public servants the similar large increases which they had promised them, nor the G$ 9000 per bag for paddy which was promised to rice farmers.As our Leader of the Opposition has been saying, they must either withdraw their preposterous allegations, or be prepared to concede that they have equalled and bettered the PPP/C in corruption and thieving in their first two years.Our Government must now know that with them two years in office, it is becoming clearer each day — as illustrated in this persecution and intended prosecution of Former AG Nandlall in this matter of the ‘Law Reports’ — that there is little basis for their preposterous election campaigning allegations, which were just ‘preposterous election campaigning allegations’.Sincerely,Samuel AA HindsFormer PrimeMinister andformer Presidentlast_img read more