The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack, SC, and the Commissioner of Police Nigel Hoppie have filed an application in the High Court seeking certified copies of the Statements of Polls (SoPs) and Statements of Recount (SoRs) from the March 2020 General and Regional Elections that are lodged with the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Judicature Sueanna Lovell.
The case was called on Friday before Chief Justice Roxane George, SC, at the Demerara High Court. During the proceedings, Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes indicated that he filed an application to have Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield added as a party in the case.
While Hughes did not disclose the nature of the application during the hearing, Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, in a Facebook post on Friday evening revealed that Lowenfield is wishing to “join the proceedings to persuade the Court that the Statements of Poll should not be released.”
“In short, Mr. Lowenfield wants the High Court to prevent relevant and probative evidence against him from being made available to the Prosecution in his criminal trial!! Another attempt to block the SoPs from being made public!!! Another record-breaker,” Nandlall added.
After the dismissal of Elections Petition #99 which was filed on behalf of the APNU/AFC by Monica Thomas and Brennan Joette Natasha Nurse, the Chief Justice ordered GECOM to lodge the original copies of the SoPs and SoRs with the Registrar of the High Court for safekeeping.
Following the dismissal of Election Petition #88 which was filed on behalf of the APNU/AFC by Claudette Thorne and Heston Bostwick, the Chief Justice ordered that the SoPs and SoRs are to remain with the Registrar of the Supreme Court until all appeals in the matter have been exhausted.
The DPP and Top Cop want certified copies of the SoPs and SoRs to prosecute the electoral fraud cases against Lowenfield, Deputy Chief Elections Officer Roxanne Myers, and Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo which are pending before the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
In the application seen by this publication, the DPP said that the Commissioner of Police wrote to the Registrar of the Supreme Court requesting certified copies of the documents, but the Registrar informed that she was unable to hand them over without a court order.
“The Commissioner of Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions require certified copies of the lodged documents on the basis that the documents are relevant to prove the commission of the named offences [for which Lowenfield, Mingo, and Myers are charged].”
According to the DPP, there is no restriction to the Police obtaining copies of the SoPs and SoRs since pursuant to the Representation of the People Act, they are public records for which there is no restriction such as privacy, privilege, or secrecy.
“By the common law and statute, namely Section 50 of the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act, the Commissioner of Police and any member of the Police Force have the lawful right to collect and recover all documents and property which are relevant to the investigation and prosecution of any criminal offence,” Ali-Hack submitted.
According to the DPP, unofficial copies of the SoPs are in the public domain. Ali-Hack noted that the original documents will confirm and show that certain numbers of cast votes were recorded on those documents and that together with other evidence will show that those charged deliberately ignored those recorded figures and made false declarations in furtherance of their conspiracy.
The named Respondents in the application filed by the DPP are Attorney General Anil Nandlall, SC, GECOM, and the Registrar of the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice will hear arguments in this matter on May 24, 2021, at 1:30 pm.
One month after the PPP/C Government took office, Lowenfield, Mingo, and Myers were hauled before the courts in relation to the events that unfolded after the close of polls on March 2, 2020. They are facing several charges for misconduct in public office and forgery.
According to Lowenfield’s report, the then caretaker APNU/AFC Coalition gained 171,825 votes and the PPP/C 166,343 votes. But how he arrived at these figures is a mystery since the national recount of all ballots which was supervised by a high-level team from CARICOM revealed that the PPP/C won the elections having obtained 233,336 votes while the coalition garnered 217,920.
The recount also showed that Mingo inflated the votes for Region Four- Guyana’s largest voting district in favour of the APNU/AFC. Also charged for electoral fraud are People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Chairperson and former Health Minister under the APNU/AFC Government Volda Lawrence and APNU/AFC activist Carol Joseph
Lowenfield’s clerks, Denise Bob-Cummings and Michelle Miller, GECOM Elections Officer Shefern February, and Information Technology Officer Enrique Livan were also slapped with electoral fraud charges. All of them were admitted to cash bail pending the hearing and determination of their trial.