Lowenfield’s fraud, misconduct trials to begin in November
Attempts to rig elections
Chief Elections Officer (CEO) Keith Lowenfield is expected to go on trial in November for the three private criminal charges filed against him in relation to his conduct in the March 2 General and Regional Elections.
He is currently facing three criminal charges regarding conspiracy to commit fraud, breach of trust in public office, and misconduct in public office, filed by private citizens Josh Kanhai and Desmond Morian.
The CEO made another court appearance on Friday at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts, where the lawyers representing the applicants were expected to submit statements of witnesses. However, Lowenfield’s lawyer, Senior Counsel Neil Boston told media operatives that the attorneys requested more time. The matter was adjourned to October 23 for further disclosure.
According to Boston, the trial in relation to Morian vs Lowenfield will begin on November 13 while the trial in relation to Kanhai vs Lowenfield will begin on November 20.
Meanwhile, as it relates to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack taking over the charges, Boston said no decision has been made.
“The DPP has not written to them setting out what she has in mind but they are of the view that she may do so by the next disclosure date…The DPP has not taken over. She’s saying she’s looking at the statements and will make a decision,” Boston claimed.
Lowenfield first appeared in court on July 24 where he was granted $450,000 bail; $150,000 bail on each of the three charges. The charges were filed by Josh Kanhai and Desmond Morian, private citizens.
Kanhai, a member of The New Movement (TNM) party, filed a charge claiming that Lowenfield, between March 5 and June 23, 2020, conspired with person(s) unknown to commit the common law offence of fraud when he submitted his election report dated June 23 which included figures that altered the results of the elections.
Meanwhile, Morian is contending 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 of the CEO.
Morian subsequently filed a third 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 GECOM Chairperson, Retired Justice Claudette Singh, back in March.
A few weeks back, Lowenfield was arrested and the allegations of electoral fraud were put to him, but he exercised his right to remain silent. He was eventually released on $100,000 bail and had to report to the CID Headquarters.
The CEO is being accused of attempting to undermine the will of the people by repeatedly refusing to submit the verified results from the National Recount to Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), Retired Justice Claudette Singh, for a final declaration.
During the recount exercise, it was unearthed that Mingo heavily inflated the figures in Region Four – Guyana’s largest voting District – in favour of the caretaker A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance for Change (APNU/AFC) regime. He was charged and arraigned last month on four counts of misconduct in public office and placed on $600,000 bail.
Mingo is also facing private criminal charges filed by People’s Progressive Party/Civic’s election agent, Charles Ramson Jr, back in March for forging official electoral documents in an effort to defraud the country. He was charged along with Volda Lawrence, who is Chairperson of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) – the leading party of the APNU fraction of the coalition.