Appeal Court to consider State’s application to take Auditor General fight to the Privy Council

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Appeal Court to consider State’s application to take Auditor General fight to the Privy Council

The Appeal Court will tomorrow consider whether it will be granting permission to Finance Minister Colm Imbert and the Cabinet to take its legal fight against Auditor General Jaiwantee Ramdass to the Privy Council court.

The Appeal Court on Tuesday delivered its full written ruling in the procedural appeal that was brought by Ramdass regarding the appointment of an investigative team to probe an understatement of between $2.6 billion and $3.379 billion in her report on the country’s 2023 public financial record.

Last Friday a three-judge panel at the Court of Appeal comprising Justices Mark Mohammed, Peter Rajkumar and James Aboud ruled unanimously in Ramdass’ favour, granting her leave to pursue a judicial review claim against the setting up of the investigative team.

On that day the court did not deliver its full judgment however. Instead, it only delivered a summary of its findings. That evening, Imbert announced that he had instructed attorneys for the State led by Douglas Mendes, SC, to further appeal the matter at the Privy Council.

On Tuesday evening the court disseminated its full 28-page ruling to attorneys involved in the case.

They held that High Court Justice Westmin James had erred in law when he refused to grant Ramdass permission to file the claim.

Based on the ruling of the Appeal Court, the team that is headed by retired High Court Justice David Harris and was appointed by the Cabinet based on the advice of Imbert, is not allowed to probe aspects of the ­investigation as they relate to Ramdass.

The court had also ordered that the matter be remitted for hearing before another judge at the High Court.

Ramdass, through her team of attorneys led by Anand Ramlogan, SC, argued that Imbert’s recommendation to Cabinet to initiate the probe, select the investigation team, set its terms of reference and have it report directly to him, was biased.

She also complained that the Harris team was mandated to make findings on her conduct and that Imbert was responsible for their remuneration.