With Opposition Member of Parliament and former Housing Minister Irfaan Ali, moving to the High Court in an effort to get fraud charges against him dismissed, the Magistrates’ Court has found itself being forced to put the matter on hold.
Back in November, Mr. Ali was charged with several counts of fraud related to the sale of land at an alleged undervalued price to members of the former Government, while he was the Minister responsible for Housing.
He is facing 19 fraud charges that add up to more than $174 million. If convicted, in addition to possible jail time, Ali could also find himself permanently banned from serving in the National Assembly.
The former Minister, who wants to run for President of Guyana, has asked the High Court, through his Attorneys, to rule that the charges against him were bad in law and that he acted lawfully under his portfolio.
The matter is expected to come up in the High Court this Friday.
In the Magistrates’ Court this morning, Chief Magistrate Ann McLennon adjourned the matter before her, on the request of the Prosecutor Patrice Henry.
The Pradoville land case came under the microscope just after the Government changed three years ago. Investigations by the State Asset Recovery Agency found that those who benefited from the seaside land sale, were offered the land at lower prices than was being offered to ordinary citizens.
Former President Bharrat Jagdeo bought the largest plot and has built a seaside mansion, where he now lives. Along with a number of his former Ministers, Jagdeo continues to face questions about the land sale deal.
While he has offered not to answer any questions, a number of his former Ministers have quietly approached the State Asset Recovery Agency to settle the matter and pay the correct prices for the land.