Govt to go after lawyers withholding State’s cases

first_imgAttorney General Basil Williams said he would have to commence going after lawyers who have cases for the State, since he would have requested that they submit those cases; but to date, there has been little response.Williams made the statement when he called a press conference on Wednesday to address the issue of several multimillion-dollar out of court settlements made by him.He said since assuming the office of the Attorney General following the May 2015 General and Regional Elections, he would have had cause to write to several lawyers and even published public notices in the local newspapers requesting they provide all the cases they were engaged in on behalf of the State. However, with the exception of Attorneys Ashton Chase and Stephen Fraser, no one else even acknowledged the request.Some of the lawyers that were written to include names such as Nigel Hughes, Ralph Ramkarran, Ruben Stoby, Neil Boston, Bernard De Santos and Sase Gunraj. Williams further stated that he would have also written to the courts to provide the Ministry with a list of cases but noted that the list was not “exhaustive”.Out of court settlementsAdditionally, after being criticised for a number of multimillion-dollars out of court settlements, the Attorney General said he would have inherited those cases when he assumed office and blamed his predecessor, Anil Nandlall, for them.Since taking office, in addition to losing cases, Government has opted to enter into out-of-court settlements. Among those companies to benefit from these out-of-court settlements are BK International, which cashed in on US$5.7 million on a settlement, and more recently, a $226 million settlement with Guyana Tractor Equipment (Guytrac). Additionally, local spirits giant, Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) would have also benefited from a $3.8 billion tax write-off in another out-of-court settlement.These settlements includes Rudisha Beverages vs the Attorney General – $7.2 billion; NH International Ltd; Emile Elias vs the Attorney General – US$11 million, plus $403 million; Toolsie Persaud Ltd vs the Attorney General – $1.7 billion; the Communities Ministry vs BK Int’l – US$5.7 million and NDIA vs H Sugrim – $226.1 million.“Cabinet gave its seal of approval. It is apposite to note that Nandlall failed to appreciate that his conduct in failing to act in the face of repeated breaches by BK amounted to a waiver of them,” Williams said.Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo posited the cases were settled because there appeared to be some sort of kickback for the Attorney General, but Williams rejected the comment.last_img

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