Two additional employees of the Guyana Elections Commissions (GECOM) were taken into police custody yesterday as investigators are swiftly progressing their probe into the alleged fraud surrounding the protracted March 2, 2020 General and Regional Elections.
It was only yesterday that controversial District Four Returning Officer, Clairmont Mingo, was nabbed by law enforcement officers at his Abary-Mahaicony home following his disappearance from the public’s eye after his March 15th declaration. One of his assistants, Carolyn Duncan, was picked up shortly after and remains in police custody.
Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum confirmed yesterday that the two other assistants who worked closely with Mingo on March 2 were arrested Tuesday evening. While he refrained from disclosing the names of the new suspects, he did note that the two assistants were women.
However, sources disclosed to Kaieteur News that the assistants who were arrested were Sheffern February and Michelle Miller.
Sources close to the investigations also revealed that the assistants were informed by their superiors to not cooperate with the detectives in efforts to hamper the investigations.
It was Attorney-at-law and member of the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C), Charles Ramson, who had filed the private criminal charges against Mingo and the Peoples National Congress Reform’s (PNC/R) Chairman, Volda Lawrence, on March 13 in relation to a pair of fraudulent elections declarations for Region Four.
While Lawrence appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan in relation to these charges and was granted bail, police were unable to serve Mingo, her co-accused due to his unknown whereabouts.Abuse of Mingo’s rights
Mingo’s legal representatives, Attorneys-at-Law, Darren Wade and Roysdale Forde S.C., vehemently protested the actions of the police relating to the treatment of their client.
Expressing concerns to reporters outside of the Criminal Investigations Department at Eve Leary where Mingo was being held, Wade said, “This is very disturbing, the attitude of the police,” adding that his client was questioned in his absence.
Further, he said that the police also confiscated Mingo’s phone.
Forde added that his client, when being questioned, repeatedly insisted that his lawyers be present, however, this was not granted.
“After a couple of minutes,” he said, “the police quite belated recognized that Mr. Mingo has in fact legal rights; at that point they allowed Mr. Wade to have a conference with him.”
What transpired, according to Forde, was the abuse of Mingo’s rights as a citizen of Guyana.
Review of Mingo’s fraud
Kaieteur News has been at the forefront recording a surfeit of occasions when Clairmont Mingo, had inflated the votes in his district in favour of the A Partnership For National Unity + Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC), while also aiming to subtract votes from the PPP/C to grant the former party a false election win.
With a string of verifiable articles, this publication had exposed how Mingo’s General Election declaration of Friday, March 13, 2020 gave the Coalition 136,057 votes, while the recount showed the accurate figure to be 116,941 votes, indicating that the Returning Officer fraudulently inflated the Coalition’s Region Four total by 19,116 votes.
His declaration also gave the PPP/C 77,231 votes, when the party’s rightful total – according to recount figures – is 80,920 votes, indicating that Mingo exacted a deflation of 3,689 votes on the party.
The votes taken from the PPP/C were not enough to counterbalance the votes given to the Coalition, hence, about 15,427 ghost votes were conjured and added by Mingo to the total number of valid votes cast. While the recount showed that 202,077 valid votes were cast in the Region Four General Election, Mingo’s declaration had taken the total up to 217, 425.
Kaieteur News has produced verifiable reports of how Mingo manipulated votes in 32 ballot boxes from the East Bank of Demerara, said to be a PPP/C stronghold.
Kaieteur News’ analysis of those boxes shows that Mingo’s tabulation subtracted 391 votes from PPP/C and added 1,514 votes to APNU+AFC. This amounted to a total variance of 1,905 votes from the corresponding Statements of Poll (SOPs) – the other 13,000 plus ghost votes were scattered over, at least, dozens of ballot boxes.
Allegations into the attempt at rigging the March 2 Elections started shortly after Mingo’s contentious pair of declarations for Region Four were scrapped by Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire.
Tabulations at the GECOM Media Center in the Ashmin’s Building on High Street on March 5, was halted for a short period due to several circumstances, the main being Mingo’s brief period of illness.
When tabulations resumed, Mingo, instead of using the SOPs as required by law, returned with a spreadsheet holding fictitious numbers. Much protest erupted by party representatives especially by the PPP and electoral observers who questioned its origin.
Notwithstanding this, Mingo went ahead and made his first declaration using those figures. It was this declaration that had the signature of PNC/R Chair Volda Lawrence.
That declaration was later challenged by the PPP in the High Court which successfully managed to get them thrown out. The Chief Justice (ag) had sent Mingo back to the drawing board after ruling that he did not employ the lawful procedures necessary for the count. What Mingo did wrong, was not allowing the persons who were rightfully entitled to observe when he placed the figures from the SOPs on to the spreadsheet, if he did at all.
The tabulations then moved to GECOM’s Head Office in Kingston, where Mingo made another fraudulent declaration on March 13.
This declaration was also a matter of contention, marred by a lack of transparency and heavy allegations of electoral fraud. A number of the contesting political parties came to Kaieteur News with reports that Mingo produced inflated SOPs with doctored numbers.
According to the parties, the SOPs were projected in such a way that the numbers were not visible and they were unable to ascertain their accuracy along with the authenticity of the SOPs projected.
When asked to properly view the security features on the documents, the parties were reportedly rejected by Mingo who went ahead and made his second pair of declarations for District Four.