DPP won’t review Panday case
PORT OF SPAIN – The Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Roger Gaspard, has discontinued an initial decision to review a 2012 ruling by a magistrate to acquit former prime minister Basdeo Panday over his alleged failure to declare a London Bank account while he was in office.
Magistrate Marcia Murray had in June 2012 ruled that it would be unconscionable to permit the case against Panday to continue, because she was not satisfied the issue was fully and fairly investigated by the Integrity Commission and the DPP, before charges were laid.
Panday, 81, who served as prime minister from 1995-2001, was alleged to have failed to declare the assets of the account, amounting to approximately TT$1.6 million (TT$1 = US$0.16 cents), held at the National Westminster Bank for the years ending 1997, 1998 and 1999.
Panday was found guilty and sentenced in March 2006 by Chief Magistrate Sherman McNicolls to two years in prison. But he appealed McNicolls’ decision and the conviction was eventually quashed by the Court of Appeal and a retrial ordered.
The Court of Appeal’s decision was upheld by the Privy Council.
But three months after Magistrate Murray had freed Panday, the DPP sought and was granted leave to have the magistrate’s decision reviewed by the courts. (CMC)