Victory for Jaiwantee Ramdass in the Court of Appeal

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Victory for Jaiwantee Ramdass in the Court of Appeal

Auditor General Jaiwantie Ramdass has scored a win in her ongoing saga against the Minister of Fiannce.

In her appearance before the Court of Appeal in Port of Spain today she emerged victorious in her procedural appeal related to the setting up of an investigative team to probe a $2.6 billion understatement in her report on the country’s 2023 public financial accounts.

The three Appellate judges, Justices Mark Mohammed, Peter Rajkumar and James Aboud unanimously set aside the ruling of High Court judge Justice Westmin James who, on June 3, dismissed Ramdass’ application for judicial review.

“Leave will therefore be granted because as a matter of law, the low arguability threshold has been attained. The matter will be remitted to proceed on that basis before a judge of the High Court to be allocated by the Registrar of the Supreme Court in consultation with the Calendaring Committee,” Justice Rajkumar stated in the judgment.

He stressed however, that nothing in the judgment should be construed as the court expressing any concluded view on the outcome of the issues identified.

The Justices had heard the procedural appeal on Monday.

During that hearing, Ramdass’ lead attorney Anand Ramlogan, SC, as well as lead attorney for Minister of Finance Colm Imbert and the Cabinet, Douglas Mendes, SC, made submissions.

Ramdass is claiming that the appointment of the investigative team by Imbert and the Cabinet was unlawful in that Imbert had usurped the constitutional role and function of the independent Public Service Commission (PSC) by appointing his own investigators to enquire into the conduct of public officers in the Ministry of Finance.

Ramlogan suggested that Imbert had a vested interest in the outcome of the investigation and had already arrived at his own conclusion based on statements he had made on record in Parliament that Ramdass had a role to play in the missing funds.