DPP to review private criminal charges filed against Lowenfield

– case postponed to August 24

The fraud cases brought against Chief Elections Officer of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Keith Lownefield were on Friday postponed after his lawyer wrote the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to review the charges in a bid to dismiss them.

Embattled CEO Keith Lowenfield leaving the Magistrates’ Courts

Private charges were filed by citizens, Josh Kanhai and Desmond Morian, accusing Lowenfield of three counts of fraud.
On Friday, the embattled Guyana Elections Commission CEO was accompanied by his lawyers; Nigel Hughes and Senior Counsel Neil Boston as he made his second appearance before Magistrate Faith Mc Gusty at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
The applicants were represented by Attorneys Sanjeev Datadin and Glenn Hanoman. On Friday, it was expected that statements would be submitted to the court.

Attorney Sanjeev Datadin

However, Datadin told the media after exiting the courtroom that defence attorney, Nigel Hughes had written to the DDP, Senior Council Shalimar Ali-Hack on Thursday, requesting her to review the cases. As such, they were left with no option but to comply.
“This morning, it was put off until 24 August. Mr Hughes wrote to the Director of Public Prosecutions, asking her to look at the matter and to assess the matter. The DDP has written to us for the file so that she can consider what is going to be the position. We have complied with that,” Datadin said.
Datadin reminded that the case is at the discretion of the DPP and it would not be prudent to continue before her advice is given. He added that she is a constitutional officer and has input in criminal proceedings.
“There was the information that would’ve been available before the charges were filed and we would’ve had that information. The DPP, in her discretion, might choose or request that there be further information or she may choose not to do so. Whichever the way, is really at the discretion of her…It wouldn’t be prudent for us to take any step in the proceedings when the DPP has indicated that she wants to be aware of what’s going on,” the attorney positioned.
On July 24, Lowenfield made his first court appearance, where he was slapped with three private criminal charges regarding conspiracy to commit fraud, misconduct in public office and breach of trust.
The National Recount exercise showed that the People’s Progressive Party/Civic won the elections with 233,336 votes. But Lowenfield had repeatedly refused to submit his final elections report with those figures despite being so directed by the GECOM Chair.
Kanhai, a member of The New Movement party, filed a charge which stated that between March 5 and June 23, 2020, the CEO conspired with person(s) unknown to commit the common law offence of fraud when he submitted his election report dated June 23 to include figures that altered the results of the elections.
Meanwhile, Morian contended that Lowenfield, while performing his duties as CEO of GECOM, ascertained the results of the March 2 elections “knowing the said results to be false, the said wilful misconduct amounting to a breach of the public’s trust in the office which he presides.
When those two charges came up for hearing before the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts on July 3, Lowenfield was a no-show.
Following that court session, Morian filed another private criminal charge, contending that Lowenfield conspired with a person or persons unknown to use Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo’s fraudulent figures to prepare a report that was submitted to the Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Retired Justice Claudette Singh, back in March.
After Lowenfield was released on $450,000 bail, Hanoman later told Guyana Times in a telephone interview that they have compelling evidence to support the charges filed against the GECOM official. These statements came after Boston hurled allegations that the litigants were unprepared.
Last week, the DPP discontinued private criminal charges that were filed against GECOM Chairwoman, Retired Justice Claudette Singh by three APNU/AFC supporters.
In the letter, dated August 3, the DPP invoked Article 187 (1) (c) of the Constitution of Guyana.
She informed the Chief Magistrate, Ann McLennan that in the exercise of her constitutional power, she was discontinuing the misconduct in public office charges against Justice Singh – charges that were criticised for being devoid of legal basis and “below nuisance value.”