Deeds Registrar appeal against fraud conviction set for March 2  

Following a Case Management Conference (CMC), the Court of Appeal on Tuesday fixed March 02, 2021, to hear arguments in an appeal filed by Deeds Registrar Azeena Baksh who was convicted last March for fraud over paying herself $4.5 million without approval from the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). This date is however tentative.

Particulars of the charge against her stated that while being a member of the 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 #281469; or to her own use and benefit by falsely pretending she was a contracted employee of the Deeds and Commercial Registry Authority.

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 the decision of the Magistrate. Despite being convicted of a criminal offence, Baksh was not relieved of duties.

Staffers at the Deeds Registry had called on the Legal Affairs Ministry to investigate 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.