Millions paid to lawyers by the APNU+AFC govt to represent state in political cases
The former APNU+AFC government had spent hundreds of millions of dollars in private retainer contracts and Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Hon. Anil Nandlall said a forensic audit will have to be conducted.
During a virtual press conference on Saturday, the AG Nandlall said the former Attorney General’s Chamber hired several lawyers to represent the interest of the state in political cases.
“We continued to maintain that every one of those cases was without merit but the Attorney General continued to file them one after the other and the population was always wondering who was paying for these lawyers,” he said.
The Attorney General presented a handful of invoices which reflected the payments. He stressed that the financial information was not the entire list and that he was still in the process of garnering the remainder.
In the Zulfikar Mustapha case against the Chair of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), the then AG, Basil Williams, retained Barbadian Attorneys Hal Gallop and Ralph Thorne each paid $US15,566.05. and $US 30,920.97, respectively.
According to AG Nandlall, the fees did not include tickets and hotel accommodation, which were all paid for by the state.
In the case of former Solicitor General Prithima Kissoon against Basil Williams, Attorney Ralph Thorne was retained and paid $4.2 Million.
Following the no-confidence motion in Parliament, in the court action brought against then-Speaker of the National Assembly Dr. Barton Scotland, Attorney Maxwell Edwards appeared alongside the AG and was paid $1.8 Million for the matter in the High Court. In the case of Compton Reid against the AG, Edwards was paid a sum of $2 Million.
In the same case, Attorneys Rex Mckay and Neil Boston offered their legal services while appearing for Compton Reid and together were paid $12 Million.
Dr. Francis Alexis who appeared in the same case in the Court of Appeal was paid $US25,000.
In another case of Winston Jordan against Juan Anthony Edghill, Attorney Roysdale Forde was paid some $1.7 Million. AG Nandlall said this was outside Jordan’s capacity of Minister of Finance.
The law firm of Mayo Robertson in the no-confidence case of the AG against Barton Scotland and Bharrat Jagdeo was remunerated $1.9 million. In the Anil Nandlall against the AG case, Robertson was paid another $1 Million and another 600,000 in the AG against Christopher Ram.
Maxwell Edwards appearing in the Eslyn David against Chief Elections Officer received $1.8 Million in the High Court case and another $2 -3 Million in the Court of Appeal.
“You must appreciate that these things must be the subject of a special audit to determine whether these payments were properly made. This is a work in progress. I do not think that I have been given all the invoices that have been paid, but when the Auditor General is invited to conduct a forensic audit. This is just the tip of the iceberg in private retainer contracts. There are many more. A whole bundle that I will release soon,” AG Nandlall stated.