Principal Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus has recused herself from hearing the case against former Finance Minister Winston Jordan, who is accused of misconduct in public office.
This is the second Magistrate who has recused herself from hearing the case. In fact, on April 29, Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan recused herself from the matter, citing “apparent bias.”
The case was then assigned to Isaacs-Marcus, who also recused herself. In light of this, the case has been sent back to the Chief Magistrate, who is expected to reassign it to another Magistrate on June 2, 2022.
The former Finance Minister is being represented by Senior Counsel Roysdale Force in association with Attorneys-at-Law Khemraj Ramjattan, Joseph Harmon, Darren Wade, and Dawn Cush.
Previously, Special Organised Crime Unit’s (SOCU) prosecutor Attorney-at-Law Tuanna Hardy wanted the charge against Jordan to be disposed of summarily. This means that the presiding Magistrate will hear evidence and pronounce whether Jordan is guilty or not.
However, Jordan’s lawyers raised solid objections and emphasised their preference for a jury trial in the High Court. The former Finance Minister was first arraigned on December 28, 2021, and was not required to plead to the charge. He was released on $3 million bail.
The charge alleged that while serving as Finance Minister under the APNU+AFC government and being the concerned minister for the government-owned National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), he, between February 26 and July 31, 2020, at Main Street, Georgetown, willfully misconducted himself by acting recklessly when he signed NICIL (Transfer of Property) Order, No. 50 of 2020.
The Order, which was published in the Official Gazette of Guyana, saw Jordan transferring to and vesting to BK Marine Inc. all buildings, erections, stellings, platforms, and further appurtenances, at Mudlots 1 & 2, F of Mudlot 3, A, B & D.
The cost of the property was valued at over $5 billion, but it was sold for $20,260,276. This, the court said, was grossly undervalued to such a degree as to amount to an abuse of the public’s trust and without reasonable excuse or justification.