Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall

…Court of Appeal throws out his challenge to law books theft charge

THE Guyana Court of Appeal on Wednesday threw out the application filed by former Attorney General (AG) Anil Nandlall to have the larceny charge for over $2M worth of law books from the Ministry of Legal Affairs quashed.

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The ruling was handed down by Chancellor (Ag) Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Justices Rishi Persaud and Franklin Holder at the Appeal Court, Kingston, Georgetown. Nandlall had approached the Appeal Court for a judicial review of the charge against him.

The former AG is on trial at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court for the alleged theft of the Lexis Nexis Law Reports of the Commonwealth that cost some $2M. The law reports are the property of the Ministry of Legal Affairs, the charge contends. The chancellor noted that she did not want to intervene in the ongoing matter at the Magistrates’ Court.

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As such, after the matter concludes at the Magistrates’ Court, Nandlall should approach the Appeal Court for a judicial review of the case.

One year ago, Senior Magistrate Fabayo Azore had called on Nandlall to lead his defence in the trial for the alleged theft; he is still to do so.

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When the matter was last called at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court, Nandlall was absent because he was attending the launch of the People’s Progressive Party (PPP)’s 2020 manifesto, which was held at Freedom House. Nandlall is being represented by Attorneys-at-Law Neil Boston, S.C, Glen Hanoman and Devindra Kissoon.
The matter was adjourned until January 10, 2020.
On November 23, 2018, Magistrate Azore had ruled that a prima facie case against Nandlall had been made and called on him to lead his defence.
During that hearing, Hanoman had told the court that his client will give a sworn testimony and former President Donald Ramator was expected to be called as a defence witness to support his case.

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Over the past few years, Nandlall has repeatedly confirmed that while he was AG, the law books were purchased for him by the state with approval by former President Ramotar. Nandlall had explained that the law books were in his possession and he had no intention of returning them to the state. He subsequently secured an order in the High Court, which bars the police from seizing the books.

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Nandlall had stated that the books were acquired during his term in office as Attorney-General and Minister of Legal Affairs. He previously stated that he commenced subscribing to Lexis Nexis (U.K.), publishers of the Commonwealth Law Reports sometime in 2003, and the arrangement was that the reports be shipped to him, along with an invoice.
He noted that before his appointment as attorney-general and minister of legal affairs, he had requested that as a condition of his service, that is, that the state should stand the related expense and that was agreed.

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The items were taken by him when his party demitted office in May 2015. That, he said, was communicated to the relevant authorities.

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