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Court rules against Jagdeo in multimillion-dollar lawsuit


Court rules against Jagdeo in multimillion-dollar lawsuit
Guyana vice-president, Bharrat Jagdeo (GP)

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GEORGETOWN –  High Court judge Sandra Kurtzious dismissed an appeal by Guyana vice-president Bharrat Jagdeo seeking to set aside a multi-million dollar ruling against him in favour of opposition legislator, Annette Ferguson in a libel case.

The judge dismissed Jagdeo’s application on Wednesday, for the default to be set aside on the basis that the applicant failed to show a reasonable explanation for the default.

Jagdeo will file an appeal against the ruling on Thursday and his attorney, Devendra Kissoon is also expected to seek a stay of Wednesday’s decision by Kurtzious that Jagdeo was not entitled to have the case heard, although he had not filed a defence within the stipulated 28 days.

The VP’s attorneys sought to get the original ruling set aside, arguing that the failure by Jagdeo’s previous attorney, Senior Counsel Anil Nandlall to file a defence in the matter was because of national elections and other national issues.

But the judge in her ruling said Jagdeo’s attorneys completely disregarded the court’s rule for them to file their defence within a specific time.

In addition to the GY $20 million (about U.S. $95,000) judgement Jagdeo has incurred an additional debt of GY $75,000 (about U.S. $360) in court costs, which he now also has to pay over to Ferguson.

Ferguson’s lawsuit stemmed from statements Jagdeo made in the media in December 2019 about her acquisition of land and construction of a house, when she served as a government minister.

She told the court that the statements were reckless, libellous and were designed to damage her character.

The case was filed in January last year and the attorneys for the former minister presented various documents to the court detailing how she purchased the land and construction of her home through a bank loan.

They argued that Jagdeo needed to provide evidence to back up his claims.