Ruling on Auditor General’s judicial review claim on June 3

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Ruling on Auditor General’s judicial review claim on June 3

Justice Westmin James will on June 3rd give his ruling on whether Auditor General Jaiwantee Ramdass can pursue her judicial review claim against the Minister of Finance and the Cabinet over a decision to appoint an investigatory team to the $2.6 billion revenue understatement in the Auditor General’s report on the 2023 public financial accounts.

Her judicial review application was filed on Thursday, May 16 and on Friday, Justice James agreed to deal with the question of leave before determining the issue of an injunction to pause the retired judge David Harris’s lead team temporarily while she challenges the legality of the minister and the Cabinet’s decision to appoint them.

The judge also declined to have the Attorney General participate in the leave stage of the proceedings. James said he did not think he needed to hear from the Attorney General at this point since he was not a party to the proceedings.

James said he will give his ruling on June 3 after which, “I will then decide on the position of the Attorney General.

Ramdass’ lead attorney Anand Ramlogan, SC, objected to the AG’s participation, despite submissions by the minister and the Cabinet’s lead attorney, Douglas Mendes, SC, that the Auditor General raised the issue of the payment of her legal fees as a ground in the application under the ground of further unfairness.

Ramlogan said: “If the AG is coming to do a tag team, it becomes unfair and oppressive when one of our major complaints is that she is going to be facing subjugation while starving her of legal fees.”

“As a member of the cabinet, they are all before you. They can all put in their evidence. But this is an attempt to get a second bite at the cherry.”

Ramdass filed her application for judicial review a day after Finance Minister and acting Prime Minister Colm Imbert said there would be no cancellation of the investigation headed by retired judge David Harris.

Ramdass is seeking several declarations relating to the appointment of the Harris team. It also seeks to have the decision quashed but in the interim, she wants an injunction restraining the Harris team from investigating anything related to the audit of the 2023 public accounts.