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Tuesday 21 November 2017
Crime and Court

Piarco II case to proceed

Ishwar Galbaransingh

There will be no interruption of the Piarco II preliminary inquiry as High Court judge Jacqueline Wilson, in a ruling late Thursday evening, dismissed an application by defendants for a stay of the magisterial proceedings.

The stay was asked for in a judicial review application which sought to have presiding Magistrate Ejenny Espinet removed from hearing the almost-completed case, on the basis of bias.

The defendants who filed the judicial review claim they have been granted leave by Justice Wilson but she rejected the application for the stay.

Before the magistrates court are Steve Ferguson and Ishwar Galbaransingh, along with former UNC ministers Brian Kuei Tung and Sadiq Baksh, former Airports Authority chairmen Tyrone Gopee and Ameer Edoo and Galbaransingh’s former employee Amrith Maharaj. Galbaransingh and Ferguson’s companies Northern Construction Ltd and Maritime General Insurance are also parties in the inquiry.

Steve Ferguson

They, along with several others, were implicated between 2004 and 2005 for alleged corruption and bid-rigging arising out of the Piarco Airport Development Project between 1995 and 2001.

The inquiry resumed before Espinet yesterday with her enquiring from the accused their readiness to proceed.

While all were ready to proceed, there were still issues to be sorted by them, including the issuing of summons for witnesses as well as proper filing of witness statements before a clerk of the peace and not a commissioner of affidavits, as was done.

Galbaransingh, who was not in court, previously indicated he intended to testify on his behalf, so too Baksh, who will also call seven witnesses.

Ferguson said he would not testify but would call several witnesses, including public officials and the Attorney General.

Senior Counsel Gilbert Peterson, who leads the State’s case, said he wanted it on the record that the prosecution was available to sit any day set by the court. Espinet asked the defendants to consider sitting more days and longer hours in order to complete the inquiry sooner.

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