Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield will be making his next court appearance on September 11, when the Director of Public Prosecutions will determine if she will review the charges filed against him.
Private charges were initially filed by citizens, Josh Kanhai and Desmond Morian, accusing Lowenfield of three counts of fraud.
Lowenfield made his third appearance at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts on Monday, where he was slated to be informed of a decision from the DPP, Shalimar Ali-Hack, on the continuation of the private criminal charges. His attorneys had written the DPP earlier this month, requesting her to review the case.
However, the DPP is currently reviewing documents and will state her position on September 11.
Senior Counsel Neil Boston, who is representing Lowenfield, told the media shortly after leaving the courtroom, “We’re waiting for the DPP to appear on [September] 11 and indicate that she has looked at the document and she will take over. The DPP representative has not indicated to the court this morning that they have taken over. All he said is that the DPP is looking at the documents available to her.”
During the proceedings, Attorney representing the litigants, Glenn Hanoman would have also filed some additional documents.
The fraud cases were postponed on August 14 after the defence asked the DPP to review the charges in a bid to dismiss them. 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 the People’s Progressive Party/Civic winning 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.
Morian later 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.
Two weeks ago, 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.”
Meanwhile, Lowenfield is now under Police investigation. The Guyana Police Force said it has launched a probe into criminal conduct by Lowenfield and others in relation to the events of the March 2 elections. The CEO is accused of attempting to undermine the will of the people by repeatedly refusing to submit the verified recount results to the GECOM Chair for a declaration.
Legal advice was obtained from the DPP and the Force was advised to launch a comprehensive investigation into these allegations in accordance with its mandate.