first_img$200M lawsuitOpposition Member of Parliament Juan Edghill has said that the multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed against him by Finance Minister Winston Jordan is a move to intimidate him but he will not be silenced and will continue to speak out against the wrongdoings of the coalition Government.Finance Minister Winston JordanMinister Jordan is claiming damages in the sum of $200 million for “malicious prosecution” over the private criminal charge of misconduct in public office that was filed by Edghill back in April regarding the construction of the controversial D’Urban Park Project.The Finance Minister and Public Infrastructure Minister David Patterson were jointly charged with misconduct and abuse of public trust for authorising the payment of $906 million to Homestretch Development Inc, while Public Service Minister, Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, who was a Director of the company, was charged with alleged misconduct and the abuse of public trust for receiving the money as Director of the company while serving as a Minister in Government.However, those charges were subsequently discontinued by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack. But despite this, Jordan moved to the court, saying in his application that the private criminal charge was intended to embarrass, humiliate, and cause him to suffer public odium and contempt.“I have suffered significant harm to my reputation and integrity as a direct result of the institution of the criminal proceeding by the respondent against me,” Jordan said in the court document.Speaking with Guyana Times on Saturday, Edghill said he is yet to receive the court documents from the legal action filed, but noted that he will be vindicated in court during the proceedings.“This lawsuit is intended to intimate me and I would say they have failed miserably in seeking to intimate me. I will continue to confront wrongdoings, injustices, corruption, cronyism, and all forms of Government’s manipulation of processes that benefit individuals… I will be vindicated when I have my day in court because that lawsuit that was filed is an abuse of the process of the court.”He noted that he also feels that the lawsuit is “all about damage control, that’s what the Minister is trying to do right now – use the courts to do some damage control because… he knows that he is being held accountable and by his own admission, when he travels internationally, people are inquiring from him what’s really going on in Guyana and how the State is being managed in such a way. Well I’m not going to be intimidated, I will not be silent and I will continue to represent the people of Guyana as I did when I filed these criminal charges against members of the Government,” Edghill asserted.According to the Opposition MP, it appears as though the Finance Minister is not benefiting from the best legal advice, since he filed a malicious prosecution lawsuit when the private criminal charges of ‘Misconduct in Public Office’ was never prosecuted in the first place.“There must be a prosecution – this case was not prosecuted, it was null pros by the DPP. Secondly, if there was a prosecution the case would have had to be determined in [Jordan’s] favour. There was no determination of this matter because it was discontinued by the DPP, there is no finding of facts that the Minister is not guilty of the allegations that are conveyed in the charge because the matter was not prosecuted and it was not defended in court,” he told this newspaper.Edghill went on to point out too that one of the grounds that Minister Jordan cited in his application was that he was merely carrying out the decision of the National Assembly, which had approved the $906 million for the D’Urban Park project. To this end, Edghill, who is a former Junior Finance Minister under the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/Civic) regime, called out Jordan for the Administration’s double standards.“The Minister is part of a Government that has taken former Finance Minister Ashni Singh and former NICIL’s CEO Winston Brassington to court for their conduct in public office when all they were doing was carrying out decisions of the Cabinet, decisions of a Board of NICIL. It looks like the Minister would like to have it both ways,” Edghill said.Nevertheless, the Opposition parliamentarian posited that he is awaiting the commencement of proceedings into this $200 million lawsuit since he will be able to defend his private criminal charges, which were dismissed.“While the charges may have been discontinued in the lower court, the fact that [Jordan] has now taken this matter to the higher court, the matter will be discussed there and the nation will be able to see if he really misconducted himself or not; so thanks to the Minister for engaging [me] so that these matter could be further ventilated in the High Court,” the PPP MP stated.Edghill’s private criminal charges where the second set of charges filed by the Opposition that the DPP had thrown out. She also discontinued previous charges against Government Ministers Volda Lawrence and George Norton over the sole sourcing of over $600 million in drugs and other pharmaceuticals for the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, and the rental of a house in Sussex Street, Albouystown, Georgetown to be utilised as a drug bond at a cost of $12 million monthly respectively.The Opposition has since appealed the DDP’s discontinuation of the private criminal charges and the matter is currently being heard in the High Court. (Vahnu Manikchand)last_img

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