Appeal Court reserves judgment in Deed Registrar’s appeal against fraud conviction

The Guyana Court of Appeal has concluded hearing arguments and has reserved its judgment in an appeal filed by the Deeds Registrar Azeena Baksh who is seeking to overturn her March 2020 conviction for fraud.

Particulars of the charge against her stated that while being a member of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) between May 1, 2014, and January 31, 2017, with intent to defraud, she caused or procured valuable securities to the sum of $4,534,480 to be delivered to her bank of Nova Scotia account or to her own use and benefit by falsely pretending she was a contracted employee of the Deeds and Commercial Registry.

Following a trial before Magistrate Leron Daly, Baksh was found guilty of the offence on March 11, 2020. Magistrate Daly, instead of sentencing her to imprisonment, ordered that she repay the monies. At the time of her conviction, she was instructed to lodge $1 million and to pay the balance within a few months.

Through her Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes, Baksh is now asking the Court of Appeal to set aside and/or reverse the decision of the Magistrate. Despite being convicted of a criminal offence, Baksh was not relieved of duties as such a decision can only be taken by the JSC which expired in 2017.

Staffers at the Deeds Registry had called on the Legal Affairs Ministry to probe complaints of alleged financial improprieties committed by Baksh. Baksh is accused of unlawfully paying herself gratuity and a higher salary than what was approved by the JSC. These payments started in 2014 and continued up to early 2017.