Official Region 4 SoPs handed over to Police

Electoral fraud

…as probe into Lowenfield intensifies

Statements of Poll (SoPs) for the country’s largest voting district, Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) were on Monday handed over to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Guyana Police Force (GPF).

Police Commissioner (ag) Nigel Hoppie

This was confirmed by reliable sources close to the ongoing investigations into electoral fraud committed during the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections and it follows the recent ruling of the High Court on the SoPs.
On May 27, acting Chief Justice Roxane George ordered the release of the documents to the Police and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to facilitate the Police investigations.
DPP Shalimar Ali-Hack, SC, and Commissioner of Police Nigel Hoppie had filed an application requesting certified copies of the SoPs and Statements of Recount (SoRs). However, Chief Elections Officer Keith Lowenfield had staunchly opposed their release.
As part of the hearing of APNU/AFC’s election petition #88, which was subsequently thrown out, Justice George had ordered the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) to hand over the original copies of the SoPs and SoRs to the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Judicature, Sueanna Lovell, for safekeeping.

Keith Lowenfield

Following the conclusion of the March 2020 General and Regional Elections which were embroiled in controversy, several high-ranking GECOM officials were investigated and placed before the courts.
They are Lowenfield, Deputy Chief Elections Officer (DECO) Roxanne Myers, and Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo. Police later sent a file to the chambers of the DPP which recommended charges for the trio. Lowenfield, Myers, and Mingo were subsequently charged with several counts of misconduct in public office in relation to their conduct at the national elections.
Lowenfield was also charged with forgery for allegedly uttering forged documents on two occasions purporting to show that they were a true report of all the votes cast at the March 2020 General and Regional Elections.
They were all released on monetary bail pending the hearing and determination of their trial. In her application requesting certified copies of the documents, the DPP said that after charges were laid against the trio, she advised and instructed the Police to obtain certified copies of the SoRs and SoPs from GECOM as part of its probe and evidence gathering for presentation in court.

DPP Shalimar Ali-Hack, SC

According to Ali-Hack, the SoPs and SoRs are necessary for the fair hearing of the charges as they constitute relevant evidence for the prosecution to prove the commission of the offences for which Lowenfield, Myers, and Mingo are charged.
Lowenfield’s report to GECOM had claimed that the APNU/AFC coalition garnered 171,825 votes while the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) gained 166,343 votes. How he arrived at those figures is still unknown.
The certified results from the recount exercise supervised by GECOM and a high-level team from the Caribbean Community (Caricom) pellucidly showed that the PPP/C won with 233,336 votes while the coalition garnered 217,920.
The recount exercise also proved that Mingo heavily inflated the figures in Region Four – Guyana’s largest voting district – in favour of the then caretaker APNU/AFC regime.
The DPP has since hired a team of special prosecutors consisting of about six attorneys-at-law to prosecute the electoral fraud cases on behalf of the State.
In the meantime, it has been decided that the electoral fraud cases against Myers will continue on August 3, 2021, when the matters are set to be called for reports before Senior Magistrate Leron Daly at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.
In February last, Magistrate Daly ruled that a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) would be conducted into the two counts of misconduct in public office against Myers. This means that the presiding Magistrate will now conduct a PI to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to commit Myers to stand trial at the High Court.
It is alleged that between March 4 and 14, 2020, at High and Cowan Streets, Kingston, Georgetown, in her capacity as Deputy Chief Elections Officer of GECOM, Myers wilfully misconducted herself together with Region Four Returning Officer Clairmont Mingo and others, to declare a fraudulent account of votes for the March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.
The said misconduct amounted to a breach of the public’s trust in the office of the said Returning Officer for District Four of GECOM, without any reasonable excuse or justification. Myers has not been required to plead to the indictable charges. She was released on $300,000 bail. (G3)