Attorney General and Legal Affairs Minister Anil Nandlall has filed a lawsuit against former A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change Minister Jaipaul Sharma and Peoples National Congress (PNC) Executive member and Attorney-at-Law James Bond.
In a Statement of Claim, Nandlall is seeking damages above $25 million from each of them over libellous posts they made about him via Facebook. On November 17, 2020, Sharma, a former junior Minister of Public Infrastructure, referred to the PPP/C Government as “hypocritical” for going after Bond and others for questionable land deals using the office of the Attorney General.
In the publication, Sharma claimed that Mohabir A. Nandlall & Associates, in which Nandlall was the senior and managing partner before he was appointed Attorney General, was involved in some of these land transactions in which a large plot of land was transferred a few days after David Granger was sworn in as president in 2015.
Nandlall’s lawyers had written to Sharma, informing him that his post was not only libellous, but malicious and completely false, and is causing damage to the standing, integrity, and reputation of the law firm and to Nandlall’s reputation.
The Attorney General had demanded that Sharma retract the offensive publication and issue an apology immediately to him and the law firm. He had further informed Sharma that he reserves the right to institute legal proceedings against him; however, the apology may mitigate the quantum of compensation the firm is seeking.
Sharma, however, did not even bother to issue the apology. Instead, Nandlall said, Sharma aggravated the libel by publishing another post reciting a conversation he had with him about the source of the information contained in his statement about the land transfer.
Nandlall insists that the law firm played no part or role whatsoever in the manner or form in which Navigant Builders Inc., which has its listed address at South Road, Lacytown, Georgetown, which is the office of the law firm, conducted its affairs or business endeavours, including, but not limited to, its acquisition of lands.
On the other hand, Nandlall stated, shortly after Sharma had published the offensive posts, Bond published a post containing libellous remarks about him. According to the court action, Bond referred to the law firm as “Anil Numbskulls Chambers”, and, like Sharma, stated that it was involved in land transfers.
According to court documents seen by this publication, Bond referred to Nandlall by certain derogatory remarks, and said he knows for a fact that clients gave the law firm millions of United States dollars to facilitate the transaction purchase of land and equipment.
The PNC Executive member then made another post in which he claimed that Nandlall likes to make threats and carry them out. Bond further went on to say that Nandlall slanders and libels him daily.
According to the Attorney General, the ordinary meaning of the publications complained of gives the impression that he is dishonest; unprofessional; engaged in corrupt land deals and criminal activity; is violent; that the law firm engages in dishonourable and unlawful activities; and that he has taken steps to intimidate and threaten Sharma.
As a result of the publications, Nandlall submitted, he has suffered public humiliation, ridicule, odium and anguish. He added that the law firm has also suffered irreparable financial loss and damage resulting from the damage to his and its reputation.
The Attorney General argues that he has been working over the past two decades to build his reputation by investing time, energy, and money into his education and career. Apart from being a Senior Counsel, Nandlall pointed out, he has been a Parliamentarian in Guyana since 2006, and previously severed as Attorney General from 2011 to 2015. He added that he is also a Central and Executive Member of the ruling PPP/C.
Having regard to the foregoing, the Attorney General is seeking a court order compelling Sharma and Bond to remove the defamatory post. He is further asking the court to grant an injunction barring them from publishing any similar libel. He is also asking the court to award costs and such further or other orders it may deem just and proper.
The Attorney General is being represented by lawyers at the prominent London House Chambers including Devindra Kissoon, Manoj Narayan, Pratesh Satram, Sasha Mahadeo-Narayan, Rajendra Jaigobin, and Aanuradha Deodasingh.