Former Minister of Public Service under the PPP administration, Jennifer Westford and her former Personnel Officer, Margaret Cummings, were this afternoon freed of stealing $639 Million from the government after Magistrate Judy Latchman ruled that the Prosecution failed to make out a strong case against the two women.
The Magistrate upheld the Defence’s no case submission and agreed with the Defence Attorney that the charges against the former Minister were bad in law since the Constitution of Guyana does not recognise Government Ministers as Public Officers.
The Prosecution has not yet decided on whether it intends to appeal the decision.
The two were facing 24 counts of larceny by a public officer in connection with several payments totaling millions of dollars that could not have been accounted for under the last government.
After the decision was handed down, Ms. Westford said she never did anything wrong while she served as a Minister of Government. She had always maintained her innocence.
48 witnesses were called by the Prosecution during the case. Of those 48 witnesses, 10 of them represented the ten administrative regions and most of them could not recall receiving money for any of the programmes that payments were paid out for.
The charges covered a period from as early as the 19th October, 2011 to the 28th April, 2015.
They also covered various sums of money, all in the millions of dollars, that were allegedly stolen from the Government of Guyana by the two former officials.
The least amount was allegedly stolen in October 2011 and that was the sum of $3 Million. After that date the sums varied with the highest amount allegedly stolen at one time standing at $75 Million in November 2014.
Westford is still facing a number of criminal charges in connection with the alleged illegal transfer of several government vehicles in the run and just after the 2015 elections.