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Monday 11 November 2019
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Devant can seek info on Darryl Smith again


FORMER UNC minister and political activist Devant Maharaj has received the permission of the High Court to apply for judicial review against the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) for refusing or denying him access to information on the payout to former Sports Minister Darryl Smith’s personal assistant.

Maharaj sought the information in a freedom of information application in November and was denied on March 19.

Justice Nadia Kangaloo today granted Maharaj leave to apply for judicial review.

On June 12, Maharaj filed n application in the San Fernando High Court against the OPM seeking leave to pursue his legal challenge.

In her order, Kangaloo gave Maharaj permission to apply for judicial review for an order to quash the decision of the OPM to refuse disclosure of the documents. He also received permission to seek a declaration that the decision of the OPM was illegal, irrational, and unfair and amounted to a breach of the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

Maharaj also wants a declaration that he is entitled to the information and wants the court to order the OPM to reconsider his application, or alternatively, compel it to give him the information.

In his application for leave, Maharaj said in 2018, allegations of sexual misconduct by the former minister surfaced which involved a settlement in the Industrial Court of $150,000 being paid to an official from the ministry who made the allegations and who also alleged she was wrongfully dismissed from her job at the ministry.

He said the settlement included a non-disclosure agreement and Smith was eventually fired as a minister.

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