Imbert, Cabinet granted leave to take Ramdass’ challenge before Privy Council

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Imbert, Cabinet granted leave to take Ramdass’ challenge before Privy Council

The Court of Appeal has granted the Finance Minister and the Cabinet conditional leave to take their complaints to the Privy Council.

Minister Colm Imbert and the Cabinet will be allowed to take their complaint of the Appeal Court’s decision to permit Auditor General Jaiwantie Ramdass’s challenge to an investigation of her office by a team hand-picked by the government.

The ruling yesterday by Justices of Appeal Mark Mohammed, Peter Rajkumar and Maria Wilson, was not opposed by the Auditor General’s lead attorney, Anand Ramlogan, SC.

Final leave will be granted once the minister and Cabinet’s legal team, led by Douglas Mendes, SC, completes the necessary processes for filing an appeal to the apex court.

The Appeal Court judges also approved Mendes’s undertaking for his clients to advise the investigation team, led by former High Court judge David Harris, not to proceed with those terms of reference that pertain to the Auditor General until the hearing and determination of their complaint to the Privy Council.

Ramdass had complained that Finance Minister Colm 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.

The Appeal Court held she had raised an arguable point.

Its ruling effectively stops the Harris team from any investigation involving the Auditor General over the 2023 national accounts for now.

The order approved by the Appeal Court on June 28 also effectively put a hold on Ramdass’s judicial review claim in the High Court until the Privy Council rules.

However, the team was still permitted to pursue aspects of the probe on the $2.6 billion understatement in the Auditor General’s report on the 2023 public accounts that do not involve Ramdass and her office.

Harris’s team was expected to report to the Finance Minister by July 7.